Scrum is based on a set of fundamental values. The values provide a code of behaviour, or ethics, for Scrum Teams – some rules of conduct for teams to embody and live by as they work with Scrum.
The five Scrum Values are:
People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team.
Contrary to popular belief, the value of Commitment does not simply equate to the Scrum Team committing to deliver a set amount of work within a Sprint. Commitment in Scrum is about being dedicated to a cause, a goal, a vision, and applies to the collective actions and effort required to achieve that vision. Without commitment, Scrum Teams will not be able to reach their full potential, they will struggle to collaborate and learn, and ultimately to deliver valuable, working software.
Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team.
Scrum Teams have a time-box of one month or less in which to produce a valuable product increment; to do this successfully requires that the team can focus on the task at hand. Once the team is focused, they can dedicate all of their efforts to resolving the problem and completing their goals in the simplest way possible. Without focus, Scrum Teams can easily become distracted by support issues, on demand work, email, meetings etc. and lose the real power of the focused iterative, incremental approach of Scrum.
The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work.
This value is most readily linked to Scrum’s roots in empiricism and the transparency that it demands. Openness is a requirement for Scrum to work, and the Scrum artefacts and events facilitate that openness; the Product Backlog should be visible to everyone, the Daily Scrum keeps progress visible, the Sprint Review makes the results of the Sprint visible etc. Without real openness and honesty about its progress, learning and problems, a Scrum Team will struggle to gain trust and empowerment and not reach its full capabilities.
Scrum Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.
Respect is perhaps the most human of the values. Scrum Team members are expected to show respect for each other and each other’s experience, opinions and culture. Respect is as important outside of the Team; showing respect for users by listening to and fixing their problems, by not building features nobody will use and collaborating with others to continuously improve and learn. Without respect, team members will pursue individual rather than team success and fail to capitalise on the strength of working as a team.
Scrum Team members have courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems.
Scrum emphasises the importance of self-organising, cross-functional teams to optimise flexibility, creativity and productivity. Without courage, Scrum Team members will not be able to think creatively about problems; they will not be able to take the risks required to produce the innovative, productive product changes that organisations demand of them. Without courage, issues within the team will go unsaid, impediments will stay hidden and the flow of valuable work will remain obstructed.
As a Scrum Team learns to fully understand the power of the Scrum Values, they commit to achieving the goals of the team by focussing on the work of the Sprint, being open about progress and the challenges that they face, showing respect for everyone involved and having the courage to do the right thing even when it is tough.
More detail can be found in the Scrum Guide.