Scrum Values. Learn Them. Live Them. -- Cartoon -- March 25, 2008

Welcome back to yet another week at

The Guest Blogger this week is Michele Sliger, a fellow Certified Scrum Trainer and awesome person in general (smile).

A few weeks ago some of the Trainers got together in a super-secret-location-on-Earth for a couple of days.

We had a lot of fun, I learned a ton, and you can be sure I will write more about it in this blog in the future!

Michele posed the question to the Trainers, “What are the Scrum Values?”

And. Gulp. I could not name all of them.

Shame on me.

Or? Are they something I just *do* like a lot of people already?

Either way, I thought this would be a good platform for Michele to discuss the Scrum Values and give some great examples for you to use with your Scrum Teams.

Keep learning… I do daily….

Here is the write-up from Michele:


Like Mike, I am a Certified Scrum Trainer and I make my living teaching Scrum and coaching Scrum teams.

One of the things I teach is the Scrum values. Do you know what they are? Take a second and see if you can name them all.

I will give you a hint: there are five, they are one word in length, and one of them is not Honesty. Now stop reading for a moment and when you think you have got them all, come on back.


Okay, how did you do?

I am sure none of you cheated by going to the first Scrum book, “Agile Software Development with Scrum” and flipping to the last chapter.

(I can hear it now: “Heck, she said that Honesty wasn’t a value, so where’s the problem?”)

The five Scrum values are, in no particular order:

    1. Commitment
    2. Focus
    3. Openness
    4. Respect
    5. Courage.

Now what do you suppose these mean?

Ask a roomful of people and you’ll get a roomful of answers.

– Openness means that we will tell the product owner “no” when we can’t do any more work in the Sprint.

– Openness means that we will tell management that we are doing Scrum even though we are afraid they will make us stop.

– Openness means that when my colleague takes a three-hour lunch break instead of finishing her tasks that I will have a difficult conversation with her.

– Openness means telling you that I did in fact cheat. I looked up the values in the back of the black book.

(I once had an argument with a co-worker on what “being truthful” meant.

He said that it wasn’t lying if he went to a topless bar and didn’t tell his wife. I said it was a lie, one of omission. We went back and forth, each sure of our morality. So I’m pleased that Ken was careful in his naming with the value of Openness, instead of something like Honesty or Truthfulness, so I don’t have to have arguments over what truth means!)

Because we each interpret the values differently as individuals and as teams, we really need to take a look at each value and decide as a team what that value means to us.

Here are a couple of ways you can do that:

If your group does regular brown-bag lunches, open spaces, or Scrum cocktail hours, pass out copies of that last chapter and say, “This is what we’ll be talking about at our next get-together.”

Then have that informal conversation and see what the team thinks about the values.

Are there any that surprised them?

Are there any that weren’t in line with their personal values?

Can they say that the team has been adhering to all the values?

Are there any values that they think should be listed that are not?

And are there any values that they would like to make a bigger, more overt, part of their daily activities?

When working on the facilitation of team working agreements, try this exercise.

List the values, and this simple template that can be used to turn each value into an actionable working agreement:

We believe in [value] therefore we will [do something].

For example, your team might come back with:

– We believe in respect, therefore we will show up on time for all meetings.

The point is to get those values on the wall somewhere, where they can serve as reminders to the team of the drivers behind the Scrum practices, and of how the team has chosen to work together.

Remember, Scrum is not only value-driven in how it provides the most important features first to the customer, it is also value-driven in how the people choose to work together to get the job done.


Gotta run!.Please send comments, questions, criticisms, ideas, or whatever here.

You can also enter The Scrum Community to discuss this entry and other Scrum topics. Thank you!

Originally Published:

March 25, 2008

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  1. says

    In the spirit of Openness, and with all due Respect, what I want to know (and have the Courage to ask), even though I’m in a Committed relationship, on which I am Focused, is:

    Does Michele look like the Hot ScrumMaster?

    And. Wouldn’t a better adjective be Scrumdillyicious? Or. Are you afraid that DQ would sue?


  2. says


    I did a quick google translate and read your comment as:

    […] A mistake was quickly spotted the lack of focus. It is impossible to be agile without focus on the product being delivered. All that adds no value to the product is consuming efforts in another direction, so is at odds with agility. This is repeated continuously in various projects, when the team has to meet demands that are not on the project they are. Virtually every agile method requires the team to be dedicated as part of more than one project involves the loss of focus and commitment, two of the basic values of Scrum. […]

    Please let me know your thoughts on this. Did I miss the mark with this posting or hit a nerve?

    Thank you!

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