The Scrum Values

The Scrum values are:

  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Commitment
  • Openness, and
  • Respect

To refresh my thinking on this topic, I recently turned to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Courage originally referred to strength of spirit or heart.  It encompasses confidence, boldness, vigor, vital force, and energy.  Some people equate courage with bravery, but just as many seem to distinguish it from bravery.  Courage does not necessarily mean fearlessness, but to move forward in the face of fear.

Focus springs forth from the sciences including the study of lenses and meteorology as in the center of activity, or greatest energy, of a storm or volcanic eruption is its focus.  One can also think of a focus as a center of radiant heat.  In Scrum, we tend to mean to pay such undivided attention as to filter out all nonessential information and interactions.

Commitment is perhaps the most contested value in terms of definition.  What do we mean by “commitment?”  The OED includes such definitions as “an absolute moral choice or course of action;” “the action of engaging in or commencing” as in hostile engagements; perpetrating; entrusting to a committee, committing to prison; “the action of entrusting, giving in charge, or commending.”

Openness is much discussed inasmuch as it was intentionally chosen as a value instead of honesty, which is interesting.  The OED describes it as the “absence of dissimulation, secrecy, or reserve; frankness, candour, sincerity.”

Respect is “consideration, regard, notice;” “gaze, visual attention;” and “deferential regard or esteem felt or shown towards a person, thing, or quality” as well as much more with regard to relationships between people and ideas.

Some people say that if you just have these values active in an organization, you don’t any of the rest of Scrum.  That could be, but until that happens, Planning Day, daily Scrum, Review, and Retrospective meetings will help us get on the road to learning to draw these values into our workplaces.

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