Scrum Rules: As a Team Member I Live the Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto in My Team

July 30, 2020
4 minute read

The Agile Manifesto is the founding document of the Agile movement. It can be found here and if you haven’t read it, it is strongly recommended!

Living values and principles is an act of striving for excellence. There are no mechanisms in Scrum to force people to live the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. Scrum relies on individual team members to strive to develop an understanding and practice of Agile values and principles in and of their own volition. If Team Members do not live the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto in their team many other things will take priority such as creating complex documentation, multitasking, and excessive up-front planning. If an organization thinks of Scrum merely as a tactical tool they risk becoming disconnected from the intent of the authors of Scrum — rather than working to change the culture of their organization toward real agility a team might reduce Scrum to a lesser version of itself (Scrumerfall, Scrumbut…etc, wherein Scrum is reduced to nightmarish micromanagement and not at all the intention of Scrum’s authors)..

In practice, each of the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto is can be applied quite simply if the circumstances allow it. However, it always comes down to understanding and choice on the part of each team member. Here are some ideas for helping a team to understand the Agile Manifesto (all of them are retrospective exercises):

  1. Print out copies of the Agile Manifesto for each team member and bring them to the Sprint Retrospective. Ask team members to rate how well the team is doing on each of the items in the manifesto – use a simple scale such as five stars. Collect the evaluation results anonymously and display them on a whiteboard or flip chart page. Then, with the team discuss any of the scores that stand out.
  2. Ask the team members to choose the value or principle they would most like the team to work on improving. Collect these as suggestions, discuss them, and as a team choose one to work on systematically for a few Sprints.
  3. Discuss the connection between the Agile Manifesto values and the Scrum Values (commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect). Encourage the team to provide specific work examples of that connection.

Of course, there are many other ways to build understanding of these values and principles. It is up to the Scrum Master to encourage this understanding.

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Bruce Power
Capital One
Equitable Life of Canada
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