February 22, 2021
0 min read

The guide to five scrum values

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Why are scrum values crucial to successful scrum implementation?

Back in 2016, the creators of Scrum, Ken Schwaber, and Jeff Sutherland, updated the Scrum Guide. They decided to add five values to the guide to help software development teams achieve their goals. While on their face these values may seem simple, they offer teams a set of tools to stay on track and deliver results. The five values are:

  • Courage

  • Focus

  • Commitment

  • Respect

  • Openness

Let’s take a closer look at how successful scrum teams use these values to stay agile and produce great software.

What are the 5 scrum values?


Courage might prove the most difficult scrum value to express. A team displaying the value of courage must demonstrate humility. They must admit when they are wrong, when they cannot deliver or when they face obstacles. Team members with courage support each other. They share information with other team members and stakeholders. Courage means admitting that a requirement or process isn’t working. Courage means not building software solutions that users don’t need. A software development team shows courage by advocating for the good of the sprint against organizational pressures.


An agile software development team must value focus. They must not let distractions get in the way of their sprint or sprint plan. Scrum masters must ensure that teams finish the sprint and backlog items at the end of the time box. The team focuses on a sprint goal and avoids external inputs and distractions. Time-boxing helps scrum teams stay focused and on track. With time-boxing teams see the goals clearly, sharpening focus. A sprint of a month or less ensures they remain single-mindedly targeted on the sprint goal. The scrum master keeps the team focused on the spring goal. 


Development teams that value commitment set realistic goals. They organize their sprint plans and backlog items with commitment. They aim to set realistic goals. The product owner shows commitment to setting the software development team up for success. They do not set goals only to please stakeholders. They set achievable goals. Commitment means telling uncomfortable truths and setting realistic expectations. Scrum masters show their commitment by helping clear obstacles that slow a team down. Scrum masters take down organizational roadblocks. Commitment means not tolerating the usual way of doing business if it proves wrong or ineffective.

As Gunther Verheyen points out, “So, commitment is about dedication and applies to the actions, the effort, not the final result.”


Scrum teams must value respect. If a team member or product owner lacks respect for the process or team, the whole sprint will fall apart. Software development teams work together through every part of the software development cycle. Each team member has a specific role for the sprint and demonstrates respect through expressing their needs honestly. Transparency proves the value of respecting others and their abilities. Team members give respect by valuing other member’s expertise and experience. Teams show respect by delivering solutions described in user stories. They do not build features that users don’t need or want, respecting the opinions of end-users and stakeholders. Team members respect different viewpoints and perspectives. Respect means leads to openness.


Building on respect, teams must value openness. Agile and Scrum have always placed great value on transparency. Openness means clearly communicating team progress and problems. Teams must communicate within the team as well as with product owners and stakeholders. Product owners and scrum masters much use openness and transparency in a positive way. Product owners must never wield transparency as a weapon. 

Scrum masters encourage openness with scrum meetings. In the meeting, the team discusses the exact state of the sprint, where they are falling behind, and where the sprint is going well. Spotting trouble early allows scrum masters time to clear bottlenecks. The whole team and stakeholders should have access to the product backlog and sprint requirements. A team valuing openness shares feedback in a positive manner. Finally, the team meets to discuss the sprint in the sprint retrospective. They should discuss the process and reflect on how they did well and what they can improve for the next sprint. 

So, why are scrum values crucial to successful scrum implementation?

Scum values give teams an ethic by which they use agile methodology. The scum values give software development teams guidance to harness the full potential of scrum and agile. Without the values, scrum and agile cannot function properly. Only by fully understanding and observing Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness can scrum teams harness the full potential of agile.

Check out what is the difference between Agile and Scrum.

As Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland explain in the  Scrum Guide:

“Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living these five values. People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team members have the courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems. Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum Team. The Scrum Team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work. Scrum Team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.”

Related post: Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What’s the difference?

Teams observing all five scrum values work best because they operate with scrum ethics. Without scrum values, software development teams cannot access the full potential of agile. Scrum values provide the ethic and soul of the scrum. Without them, teams are just using agile in a shallow, surface manner. When teams observe and value scrum values they harness the true and total potential of agile. 

Here at Blocshop, we believe in scrum values. Our teams honor Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness. If you would like to learn how Blocshop users agile and scrum to deliver great software, please do get in touch.

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