Scrum Values: Is The Focus Really On People?
I recently conducted an introduction to Scrum for a new team. My preparation started with the Agile Manifesto and the 12 Principles of Agile Software Development (http://agilemanifesto.org/). I have read and re-read the Agile Manifesto and Principles repeated, but the one thread that stuck out in this recent review was ‘people.’
Values of Agile
The four core values of Agile software development as stated by the Agile Manifesto are
12 Agile Principles
The 12 essential Agile attributes articulated in the Agile Manifesto are:
When I began to reflect on my training materials, it came back to people.
When I began to reflect on my experience, it came back to people.
It all came back to people.
In fact, one of the four Agile guidelines speaks to people (25%).
And five of the 12 Principles of Software Development speaks to people (42%).
At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective then tunes and adjusts it’s behavior accordingly.
Not just the people but the right people. Having the right people, is a part of the process. Not only it is a part of the process, it is essential to the success of a Scrum team. First, you need to ensure that you have the right skills represented.
Does the team require architects, analysts, quality assurance, UI/UX, etc.? Does the team have an identified Product Owner (single wringable neck)? Does the team have a Scrum Master identified? The team should be 7 + 2 and should include the product owner and scrum master.
Once you’ve determined that you have the right skill representation, you then need to evaluate if those people are the right people. Below are 6 “C’s” defining traits showing the ‘right people’ constituting the Scrum team.
Communication is a key element of the scrum as highlighted in the manifesto and 12 guiding principles. This is a fundamental change for individuals that are used to working in a silo. Scrum requires at least daily communication.
Stories are often written with minimal detail in order to facilitate a conversation. Scrum requires proactive communication (don’t wait to be asked). Scrum requires great listening. That means that the right persons need to understand the importance of communication and embrace that importance by exhibiting or learning to exhibit a proactive communicative disposition.
Collaboration is also a key element of the scrum. Again, this is a fundamental change for an individual that may be used to working in a silo. Scrum highlights the ‘success and failure as a team’ mentality. That means that the team has a vested interest in and right to ensure that work is getting completed and done correctly.
This is a two-way street, not only do you need to have insight into everyone’s work, but you must also be willing to provide the same insight into your own work. The team needs to be willing to pair program, swarm or even mob around stories for the team’s success.
Scrum team members need to be creative. They need to have an ability to be told what is needed without requiring someone to explain ‘how.’ Stories in their purest sense are single sentenced with perhaps a couple of sentences of acceptance criteria.
The Scrum team member (including the Scrum Master and Product Owner) need to be connected to the team. What does it mean to be connected? It means to be invested in the success of the team.
It means that they know one another, they know how to interact with one another, they know how to make one another successful and in turn make the team successful. A good scrum team truly works hard and plays hard together. A good scrum team member needs to be willing to develop a ‘work-family’ with his/her scrum team.
It’s controversial in the age of telecommuting, but a co-located team member is the best. Face to face conversations trump video conference calls, phone calls, emails, IM’s, etc. Collaboration is immediate and organic when the team is co-located. Connectedness and camaraderie come to a lot easier with co-location. Co-location makes spontaneous collaboration via swarming, pair programming, and even mob programming that much easier.
If the person doesn’t possess any of the above attributes they are coachable. Not everyone will possess these skills, so coachability becomes one of the most important elements for any team member. Everything else can be taught and demonstrated
Is Scrum all about People?
Agile and Scrum are making the implementation of the software projects more successful by meeting the user’s, customer’s, and the business needs, and at producing software much more quickly and responsively than the traditional waterfall methodology.
All the characteristics of a good Agile team is depend on these values. Once the team is identified and evaluated to be the ‘right people’ you can begin investing in team-wide training/education to establish a baseline understanding of the Scrum, the roles, the ceremonies, and the terminology is a great start to start any project in the organization.
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