Scrum Values IV: Today’s Episode — Openness

Now that we have the first three values established, we move into the two that really start to pull everything together into a whole.  We start here, with Openness.  Once more, from the Scrum Guide:

“The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work.”

It’s pretty amazing how one sentence summarizes it all.  Scrum demands that we be completely open about everything we are doing.  Period.  There are no secrets.  There is no building of silos and obfuscating work to hide what we are doing.  Instead, we want to make everything known to everyone, starting with ourselves!

  • Openness means we talk about our progress toward the Sprint Goal every day.
  • Openness means we talk about where we are falling short, and enter into discussion on how to get back on track.
  • Openness means that when we aren’t on track, we don’t offer excuses or try to hand-wave our way past an issue.
  • Openness means we put all our work on the Scrum Board, so anyone can see what we are working on and our progress toward Done.
  • Openness means everyone is welcome into any of our Scrum ceremonies to learn more about our progress and what our product looks like.
  • Openness means we are willing to keep the Product Owner up to date as work moves toward Done so he/she can accept that work in real time.
  • Openness means we are willing to raise impediments with the Scrum Master so he/she can remove them and let the team focus.
  • Openness means we are willing to have the difficult conversations, and trust each other to help the entire team succeed.

Your Jedi mind tricks don’t work in Scrum.  In fact, they will backfire.  We don’t like to talk about our shortfalls, as individuals or as a team, but when we try to mask them, or ignore them, we actively damage the team.

  • Being open about our progress toward the Sprint Goal requires Commitment.
  • Being open about where we are struggling requires Courage.
  • Being open about the most important things we are working on requires Focus.

The Agile Manifesto explicitly tells us the importance of Openness right away.  We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools.  We recognize that sitting down and talking to people, openly and honestly, is the best way to convey information.

Openness pulls things together, allows the team to honestly inspect our progress, and make adaptations as required to stay on track.  When that openness is compromised, the rest of our Sprint Values are compromised with it.

Part III
Part II
Part I

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About Heath

Scrum Master. Software Engineer. Writer. Musician. Craft Beer Aficionado. Jeopardy! contestant. Not necessarily in that order.