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Ken Schwaber On the Five Values of Scrum

Scrum co-founder Ken Schwaber speaks with DZone about the recent updates to the Scrum guide.

· Agile Zone

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What made Scrum.org decide to add a section on Scrum values?

The Scrum Guide is managed independently of Scrum.org by Jeff Sutherland and I, the creators of Scrum.  There is an active community of Scrum professionals who use the Scrum Guide as the basis for their work.  Those individuals have been providing input via the User Voice section of the Guide website (https://scrumguide.uservoice.com/) to provide input to upcoming releases and feedback on the Guide.  Adding the Values into the Scrum Guide has received the highest number of votes by more than 3x.  So, Jeff and I have listened to the audience and added them in.  Not only was it based on feedback from Scrum professionals, but also the fact that professionalism requires a set of values and these values help to encompass the professionalism of Scrum and software development. Enacted and embraced, these values create a culture for Agile software development.

How did you determine that commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect were the best values to embody Scrum?  

These values have been written about and talked about for quite a long time and were originally written about in Chapter 9 of my book, Agile Development with Scrum, published in 2002. Scrum Teams are asked to take initiative, to wrestle with complex requirements and technology and to do this, the team must learn to rely on itself and act on best available knowledge. The values help build that trust and ability to work together as a team.

What do you feel the practical benefits of these changes will be for teams already practicing Scrum? For new teams?  

Both for new and existing teams, it will give them something to point to where they can be confident that it isn’t just an individual making up a way the individuals on the team should be acting, but encompassed in the Scrum Guide is the Body of Knowledge of Scrum. This addition to the Guide will remind the Scrum Master of their responsibility to create an agile culture based on these values.

Are there other changes to the Scrum guide that the community has suggested that you’re considering, or have rejected for any reason?  

You can see all suggestions at https://scrumguide.uservoice.com/.  At this time, we are not making additional changes, but both Jeff and I are active on the community, engaging with people using Scrum and working with Scrum Teams to understand the needs of the community.  

What does the future look like for Scrum and agile development?  

Changes to the Scrum Guide are heavily influenced by those using Scrum in the real-world and their voice for change. That said, I would expect changes to be impactful on scaling across multiple teams working on a single product. For example, the work that we have done at Scrum.org on the Nexus Framework which leverages Scrum as the basis for teams working to deliver an integrated increment.  You can find the Nexus Guide at https://www.scrum.org/Resources/The-Nexus-Guide.  As Scrum continues to evolve and be more successful, teams will evolve and therefore need to work more closely together to deliver software and Nexus is at the heart of that.  

Is there anything you feel our readers need to know that I haven’t asked about?  

Scrum is a radical departure from traditional, waterfall development cultures. We continue to work on alternative cultural structures, value development metrics, and detailed development methods that will further both software development professionalism and the value that it provides to organizations. As software becomes embedded in our infrastructure, the realization and use of this work is mandatory to our interconnected world.

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