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The Non-Definitive Guide to What the Heck is Scrum?!

This will not be a comprehensive guide to what Scrum is.  This is really brief about what scrum is and what scrum isn't.  That's because Scrum is what you make of it anyway and there is never an ideal scenario -- it's kind of like you'll know it when you experience in a Scrum team.

What Are the Scrum Values?

Instead of going into what Scrum is (we take it that you know what it is already or if not you can Google it), we just going to dive into same aspects of Scrum that we like talking about.

The original Scrum values are:

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

Sounds pretty simple huh?  It also sounds like every other companies human resource and/or people operations values.

In an Agile or Scrum or squad team, what's great about this is that not all things in the world have these values.  Whole companies find it hard to subscribe to these values, which is why they make it their mission to try to write it up on their website, make your learn it as part of your onboarding HR training.

If building software is a microcosm of running a business, then it's true that whenever you create something new or build a new enhancement to something existing that it's important to be courageous and all the other things in the Scrum values.

Things That Hasn't Been Called Out in Scrum

You can say scrum was incomplete, but maybe the people who originally put these principles together knew what they were talking about!

If you leave it high-level, it gives room for people to maneuver and also apply it in the context that best serves the people and the environment that they are building software in.

Things not explicitly called out in Scrum:

  • Needing User Stories
  • Release Schedules
  • Minimum Viable Products (MVP)
  • Product Roadmap

Are any of these shockers to you? It shocked me when I first did my CSPO certification.

What Scrum Values More than Life Itself

So I know we already have values, so why have values of the values?  But these are less high-level and less cryptic so it might actually help to run you team or least be some food for thought.

  • People matter more than the roles.  Though roles shouldn't be interchangable.
  • Product Manager or Product Owner is not pushing work into the teams, but the teams pull from the Backlog.
  • Teams are sell-organized.

The last one might need some more discussion and explanation.

What it Means to be Self-Organized?


Essentially it means freedom to some degree. So what self-organized looks like is no one is looking over your shoulder or you're not looking the shoulder of your team as the Product Manager to see if your team is doing their job.  No micro-managing in the slightest.

The team members pulls things from the Backlog to work on (with the pieces that you as PO say you should work on) and individuals volunteer for the tasks to work on.

Of course we are now going into the la-la land world of everything is great and real but...

If you have a single Scrum team that are a jack-of-all-trades all of them, they can just volunteer to do whatever that needs to be done and however it needs to be done on time and on budget.

The team should have the time to do all the work or any portion of the work they want.

At the end of the day there should be no dependencies but how ideal is that.  These original Scrum guys probably didn't live in the real world, but who knows, we do come across these Zoo like environments from time to time.

Let us know below if you work for a company like that.

Until next time...

Your Friendly Neighborhood Product Owner