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Scrum Values: Is The Focus Really On People?

I recently conducted an introduction to Scrum for a new team. My preparation started with the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Principles of Agile Software Development (http://agilemanifesto.org/). I have read and re-read the Agile Manifesto and Principles repeated, but the one thread that stuck out in this recent review was ‘people.’ Values of AgileThe four core values of Agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto areIndividuals and interactions over processes and tools;Working software over comprehensive documentation;Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; andResponding to change over following a plan.12 Agile PrinciplesThe 12 essential Agile attributes articulated in the Agile Manifesto are:Satisfying customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable work.Breaking big work down into smaller tasks that can be completed quickly.Recognizing that the best work emerges from self-organized teams.Providing motivated individuals with the environment and support they need and trusting them to get the job done.Creating processes that promote sustainable efforts.Maintaining a constant pace for completed work.Welcoming changing requirements, even late in a project.Assembling the project team and business owners on a daily basis throughout the project.Having the team reflect at regular intervals on how to become more effective, then tuning and adjusting behavior accordingly.Measuring progress by the amount of completed work.Continually seeking excellence.Harnessing change for a competitive advantage.When I began to reflect on my training materials, it came back to people.When I began to reflect on my experience, it came back to people.It all came back to people.In fact, one of the four Agile guidelines speaks to people (25%).Individuals and interactions over processes and toolsAnd five of the 12 Principles of Software Development speaks to people (42%).Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development the team is a face-to-face conversation.The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective then tunes and adjusts it's behavior accordingly.Not just the people but the right people. Having the right people, is a part of the process. Not only it is a part of the process, it is essential to the success of a Scrum team. First, you need to ensure that you have the right skills represented.Does the team require architects, analysts, quality assurance, UI/UX, etc.? Does the team have an identified Product Owner (single wringable neck)? Does the team have a Scrum Master identified? The team should be 7 + 2 and should include the product owner and scrum master.Once you’ve determined that you have the right skill representation, you then need to evaluate if those people are the right people. Below are 6 “C’s” defining traits showing the ‘right people’ constituting the Scrum team.1. CommunicativeCommunication is a key element of the scrum as highlighted in the manifesto and 12 guiding principles. This is a fundamental change for individuals that are used to working in a silo. Scrum requires at least daily communication.Stories are often written with minimal detail in order to facilitate a conversation. Scrum requires proactive communication (don’t wait to be asked). Scrum requires great listening.  That means that the right persons need to understand the importance of communication and embrace that importance by exhibiting or learning to exhibit a proactive communicative disposition.2. CollaborativeCollaboration is also a key element of the scrum. Again, this is a fundamental change for an individual that may be used to working in a silo. Scrum highlights the ‘success and failure as a team’ mentality. That means that the team has a vested interest in and right to ensure that work is getting completed and done correctly.This is a two-way street, not only do you need to have insight into everyone’s work, but you must also be willing to provide the same insight into your own work. The team needs to be willing to pair program, swarm or even mob around stories for the team’s success.3. CreativeScrum team members need to be creative. They need to have an ability to be told what is needed without requiring someone to explain ‘how.’  Stories in their purest sense are single sentenced with perhaps a couple of sentences of acceptance criteria.4. ConnectedThe Scrum team member (including the Scrum Master and Product Owner) need to be connected to the team.  What does it mean to be connected? It means to be invested in the success of the team.It means that they know one another, they know how to interact with one another, they know how to make one another successful and in turn make the team successful. A good scrum team truly works hard and plays hard together.  A good scrum team member needs to be willing to develop a ‘work-family’ with his/her scrum team.5. Co-locatedIt’s controversial in the age of telecommuting, but a co-located team member is the best. Face to face conversations trump video conference calls, phone calls, emails, IM’s, etc. Collaboration is immediate and organic when the team is co-located. Connectedness and camaraderie come to a lot easier with co-location.  Co-location makes spontaneous collaboration via swarming, pair programming, and even mob programming that much easier.6. CoachableIf the person doesn’t possess any of the above attributes they are coachable. Not everyone will possess these skills, so coachability becomes one of the most important elements for any team member. Everything else can be taught and demonstratedIs Scrum all about People?Agile and Scrum are making the implementation of the software projects more successful by meeting the user’s, customer’s, and the business needs, and at producing software much more quickly and responsively than the traditional waterfall methodology.All the characteristics of a good Agile team is depend on these values. Once the team is identified and evaluated to be the ‘right people’ you can begin investing in team-wide training/education to establish a baseline understanding of the Scrum, the roles, the ceremonies, and the terminology is a great start to start any project in the organization.

Scrum Values: Is The Focus Really On People?

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  • by Jeremy Smith
  • 26th Oct, 2018
  • Last updated on 06th May, 2021
  • 7 mins read
Scrum Values: Is The Focus Really On People?

I recently conducted an introduction to Scrum for a new team. My preparation started with the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Principles of Agile Software Development (http://agilemanifesto.org/). I have read and re-read the Agile Manifesto and Principles repeated, but the one thread that stuck out in this recent review was ‘people.’
 
Values of Agile

Values of Agile
The four core values of Agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto are

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and
  • Responding to change over following a plan.


12 Agile Principles

The 12 essential Agile attributes articulated in the Agile Manifesto are:

  • Satisfying customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable work.
  • Breaking big work down into smaller tasks that can be completed quickly.
  • Recognizing that the best work emerges from self-organized teams.
  • Providing motivated individuals with the environment and support they need and trusting them to get the job done.
  • Creating processes that promote sustainable efforts.
  • Maintaining a constant pace for completed work.
  • Welcoming changing requirements, even late in a project.
  • Assembling the project team and business owners on a daily basis throughout the project.
  • Having the team reflect at regular intervals on how to become more effective, then tuning and adjusting behavior accordingly.
  • Measuring progress by the amount of completed work.
  • Continually seeking excellence.
  • Harnessing change for a competitive advantage.


    When I began to reflect on my training materials, it came back to people.
    When I began to reflect on my experience, it came back to people.
    It all came back to people.
    In fact, one of the four Agile guidelines speaks to people (25%).
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

And five of the 12 Principles of Software Development speaks to people (42%).

  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development the team is a face-to-face conversation.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective then tunes and adjusts it's behavior accordingly.

Not just the people but the right people. Having the right people, is a part of the process. Not only it is a part of the process, it is essential to the success of a Scrum team. First, you need to ensure that you have the right skills represented.

Does the team require architects, analysts, quality assurance, UI/UX, etc.? Does the team have an identified Product Owner (single wringable neck)? Does the team have a Scrum Master identified? The team should be 7 + 2 and should include the product owner and scrum master.

Once you’ve determined that you have the right skill representation, you then need to evaluate if those people are the right people. Below are 6 “C’s” defining traits showing the ‘right people’ constituting the Scrum team.

6 C's of scrum team1. Communicative
Communication is a key element of the scrum as highlighted in the manifesto and 12 guiding principles. This is a fundamental change for individuals that are used to working in a silo. Scrum requires at least daily communication.

Stories are often written with minimal detail in order to facilitate a conversation. Scrum requires proactive communication (don’t wait to be asked). Scrum requires great listening.  That means that the right persons need to understand the importance of communication and embrace that importance by exhibiting or learning to exhibit a proactive communicative disposition.

2. Collaborative

Collaboration is also a key element of the scrum. Again, this is a fundamental change for an individual that may be used to working in a silo. Scrum highlights the ‘success and failure as a team’ mentality. That means that the team has a vested interest in and right to ensure that work is getting completed and done correctly.
This is a two-way street, not only do you need to have insight into everyone’s work, but you must also be willing to provide the same insight into your own work. The team needs to be willing to pair program, swarm or even mob around stories for the team’s success.

3. Creative

Scrum team members need to be creative. They need to have an ability to be told what is needed without requiring someone to explain ‘how.’  Stories in their purest sense are single sentenced with perhaps a couple of sentences of acceptance criteria.

4. Connected

The Scrum team member (including the Scrum Master and Product Owner) need to be connected to the team.  What does it mean to be connected? It means to be invested in the success of the team.
It means that they know one another, they know how to interact with one another, they know how to make one another successful and in turn make the team successful. A good scrum team truly works hard and plays hard together.  A good scrum team member needs to be willing to develop a ‘work-family’ with his/her scrum team.

5. Co-located

It’s controversial in the age of telecommuting, but a co-located team member is the best. Face to face conversations trump video conference calls, phone calls, emails, IM’s, etc. Collaboration is immediate and organic when the team is co-located. Connectedness and camaraderie come to a lot easier with co-location.  Co-location makes spontaneous collaboration via swarming, pair programming, and even mob programming that much easier.

6. Coachable

If the person doesn’t possess any of the above attributes they are coachable. Not everyone will possess these skills, so coachability becomes one of the most important elements for any team member. Everything else can be taught and demonstrated

Is Scrum all about People?

Agile and Scrum are making the implementation of the software projects more successful by meeting the user’s, customer’s, and the business needs, and at producing software much more quickly and responsively than the traditional waterfall methodology.


All the characteristics of a good Agile team is depend on these values. Once the team is identified and evaluated to be the ‘right people’ you can begin investing in team-wide training/education to establish a baseline understanding of the Scrum, the roles, the ceremonies, and the terminology is a great start to start any project in the organization.

Jeremy

Jeremy Smith

Blog Author

Jeremy Smith is a 20 year IT professional. Jeremy started his IT career in Business Analysis where he was introduced to Scrum. Jeremy pursued his Scrum Master certification and in 2012 began serving as a Project Manager and Scrum Master for multiple teams. Jeremy has since moved into Agile Program Management. Jeremy has also provided Scrum coaching within his roles and independently. Jeremy graduated from Columbus State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration focusing in Computer Information Systems. Jeremy also holds a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) and a CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) certifications from the Scrum Alliance.

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1 comments

nikhila 13 Nov 2018

Great updates. technology is updating day by day on every field. These blogs are really informative

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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small teams. But the true benefits of Agile can only be reaped if Agile and Scrum are scaled at the enterprise level. However, this is easier said than done. According to statistics, 47% of Agile transformations are not successful. While this is a worrying trend, there are still hundreds of organizations who have got it right and are able to survive the competition by innovating faster, delivering value and adapting to changing markets. How are they doing it? By using scaled Scrum.There are several tools and frameworks available for scaling Scrum at the enterprise level. In this blog, we attempt to look at a few of these.  Scaling Scrum with NexusNexus is among the most popular frameworks for scaling Scrum. According to the Nexus Guide, “Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product delivery initiatives. It builds upon Scrum, extending it only where absolutely necessary to minimize and manage dependencies between multiple Scrum Teams while promoting empiricism and the Scrum Values.” How is Nexus different from Scrum? Scrum defines three primary roles: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the development team. These three roles work together in one team.The Nexus framework consists of several Scrum teams that work together toward a common product goal and defines the Nexus Integration Team as an additional accountability.  Nexus helps to build on the values of Scrum and also solves the collaboration and dependency challenges that tend to occur between teams in Scrum.Benefits of using Nexus Nexus extends Scrum in the following ways:  Accountabilities: Nexus introduces the Nexus Integration Team, which consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and members. This team is accountable for delivering a workable product at the end of each sprint.  Events: Nexus events aim to add to or supplement Scrum events and serve not just individual teams but also the Nexus Integration Team. The objective of a sprint is to achieve the Nexus sprint goal. Artifacts: Although the teams are different, within the Nexus framework they all work towards a single goal and follow a single product backlog. There’s a high amount of transparency and work is allocated to each team. The Nexus Integration TeamAccording to the Nexus Guide, “the Nexus Integration Team exists to coordinate, coach, and supervise the application of Nexus and the operation of Scrum so the best outcomes are derived.” The Nexus Integration Team or NIT comprises of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Nexus integration team members. There are generally three to nine Scrum teams working together in Nexus. All of them follow a single product backlog and work towards delivering a single product. The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More

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