Revisiting the Five Scrum Values

One of the things that really attracted me to Scrum beyond the project management framework was this attention to humanistic values. While grounded in empirical control theory and based on the core tenet “inspect and adapt,” Scrum practitioners are guided by five core values that, when felt and lived, are supposed to strengthen Scrum teams, empower them for success, and lead to professional and personal development for each team member. These values align with many of the things faculty care most about, because faculty work IS collaborative and value(s)-driven.

Below is each value in bold, the value statement from the Scrum Alliance web page for each value in quotes, and my own quick interpretation as a preview to the five more in-depth posts to follow. Feel free to skip to the end of this post for a video overview of the values.

Focus. “Because we focus on only a few things at a time, we work well together and produce excellent work. We deliver valuable items sooner.” The luxury of focus in often difficult during the semester. For example, I teach undergraduates in mostly writing-intensive courses, so my students tend to be my focus throughout the semester, and research and writing can fall by the wayside.

Courage. “Because we work as a team, we feel supported and have more resources at our disposal. This gives us the courage to undertake greater challenges.” I think it takes courage to walk into a classroom every day, perhaps less so into classes that are going well but definitely more so when they aren’t.

Openness. “As we work together, we express how we’re doing, what’s in our way, and our concerns so they can be addressed.” It’s easy to keep what happens in your classroom private. And it’s just as easy to fall back on the “I’m really busy!” response when someone asks you how you are doing.

Commitment. “Because we have great control over our own destiny, we are more committed to success.” Focus and commitment are closely related for me, and these come from a place of commitment to the ideas behind what we are doing, my desire to help students (and colleagues) succeed and excel, and my own desire for success and respect as well.

Respect.”As we work together, sharing successes and failures, we come to respect each other and to help each other become worthy of respect.” Respect is the easiest value to live when I work with such wonderful colleagues. If we are being honest with ourselves through, in the heat of the semester sturm und drang, we can forget to respect our students and maybe ourselves. We can get caught up in group dynamics, live their stress as our own, and perhaps forget what we need as faculty to remain well, optimistic, and engaged in the learning environment.  we are setting out to do in this program is innovative, unique, intense, but important.

The values of focus, courage, openness, commitment, and respect already align with my values as a professional. With a Scrum mindset, we allow that we are all doing the best we can at a given moment and that helping those around us grow (and being open to that support ourselves) is equally important as productivity.

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