In Scrum Fundamentals, Values

Understanding Scrum Values: Respect

Scrum Values: Respect


Every team should have their own values to help them make decisions that are right for them.  Values act as a guide, they help a team stay true to itself, and also adapt so that they find new ways to live their values.  Scrum comes out of the box with a set of 5 values.  The Scrum values help us to think how to apply Scrum as it was intended. The Scrum values are Commitment, Courage, Openness, Focus and Respect.  Here we take a look at respect.


Respect for the Development Team

Without respect for each other then nothing else matters.  A great team will understand that everybody brings value to the team, their skills, their personal characteristics, their world view, their different experiences, their different values. It is all important for the team to be successful. Respect is often defined as having a feeling of deep admiration for someone defined by their abilities and qualities. This is a great way to help teams understand how respect can not only be understood but practically applied by team members. Respect is something that grows within a team over time and we can all learn to respect one another if we look for those qualities and abilities that make us special both individually and as a team. 


Respect for the ScrumMaster

The ScrumMaster is focused on the education and application of the scrum values. Often, one of the most challenging aspects of the ScrumMaster role is to help the Development Team and the Product Owner identify and understand how best these values can be applied. For the ScrumMaster to help the Scrum team flourish, respect is one value that they must embody at the deepest level. There are two main aspects where the ScrumMaster is able to embody and hence, help the Scrum team apply the value of respect. 

The first is as a coach and the second as a servant leader. A coach, in essence, sees people through the lens of unconditional positive regard. A coach is non-judgmental, they care, irrespective of your faults and rather than focus on your disabilities, prefer to encourage and champion your better qualities. Through this lens they help build positive regard and feelings towards their team. In doing so the coach is showing the team a mirror of how they should ‘be’ with each other, ultimately being respectful. 

The second, servant leadership, is the act of being in service to people leaving them in a better place than they first found them. One shows utmost respect to another when they meet them where they are and selflessly aid them in becoming better versions of themselves. A servant leader totally and wholly seeks to understand the person or team and accepts their traditions, opinions and learning ability. In this way the ScrumMaster is able to become the very embodiment of the word, respect and thus show the team how this value can help them become a better version of themselves.


Respect for the Product Owner

The Product Owner is challenged by their ability to focus in two core areas and their skills to manage this is vital to the success of the value delivered. Managing the stakeholders and supporting the Development Team is where the Product Owner’s focus lies and in order to support this function, like the ScrumMaster, they need to deeply understand the value of respect and embody this towards both the customer and team. 

The Product Owner often has multiple stakeholders including customers, who they acknowledge come from a multitude of backgrounds and have differing experiences. The stakeholders should be acknowledged for the needs, problems and opportunities they present and held in high regard by the Product Owner as a group of people vital for the success of the product. Without those with a vested interest in and passion for the product, the product wouldn’t exist. The burden to understand and acknowledge respect does not only sit with the Product Owner but also the stakeholders. While they may not have a complete understanding of the product, they too should acknowledge and have confidence in the Product Owners ability to deliver a valuable product. The stakeholders should also be educated about the Scrum values and how they support the application of Scrum and ultimately impact the delivery of value within the organisation. They too need to accept that they do not have a complete understanding of the whole picture and this is something the Product Owner can help support their understanding. Finally the stakeholders should respect the Product Owners final vision as acknowledging it brings everyone together in delivering the right value.


Learn more about the five Scrum Values in our Scrum Fundamentals series.

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Scrum Values: Openness