“Scrum team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.”
– The Scrum Guide
Everyone comes from a different place in life, and they bring with them different experiences and ideas. To work as a Scrum Team, members must respect each other’s differences. Better yet, celebrate them! Take the developers for example. They are composed of cross-functional individuals. They may not always share skills, but they must work together. Everyone should assume that other team members have good intentions and are doing their best to achieve the same goal.
Respect is an important Scrum Value. This goes beyond the rule you may have learned at home: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.” Make the team responsible for treating each other with respect. In other words: everyone is able to do what they have been hired for and everyone does their best to achieve the goals.
Show team members and stakeholders that their time is valuable and that their contributions are essential. Give problem owners a chance to speak for themselves. Be a model for respectful dialogue and support other opinions, regardless of your own.
Scrum generally consists of collaborative and self-organizing teams, but each member is independent in the sense that no one is constantly checking his or her work. It is believed that each individual is able to do her job without constant supervision or micromanagement by a manager or colleague.
This also means that people are encouraged and expected to ask for help when they need it, trusting that every team member is ready to help as everyone is committed to the success of the project.
As with any team effort, respect in a Scrum team means recognizing that no individual or their contribution is more valuable than another.
Respect requires that you treat people as equals regardless of age, education, social position, etc. It is also about respecting and understanding end-users and stakeholders so that you are better equipped to meet their needs.
We are all human. Respect means that team members should value each other for their strengths in their hard and soft skills. Give each other permission to have a bad day every now and then and also acknowledge – and celebrate – each other’s achievements.
Respect in practice
- Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and ensure that you are in balance as a team. Goals will not be met if even one person underperforms.
- Let all opinions be heard within the team: even the most inexperienced member of your team can have a good idea or ask that that one question that sets the solution in motion.
- Let the team decide for itself ‘how’ the Sprint Backlog is converted into working software. Not only in technical solutions, but also who does what.
- Only show items in the Sprint Review that are really Done. When it’s finished, you show it. If the Scrum Team wouldn’t dare to put it to production, you don’t show it.
- Scrum Masters can help foster respect among their teams by showing respect to the Product Owner, Developers and stakeholders. I have found that Scrum Masters can do a lot to encourage this kind of respect, simply by making sure every member required to attend a Scrum event is present, on time, and involved.
Respect allows for better communication between members of different roles, as well as the ability to accept constructive criticism without affecting one’s ego.