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Scrum Values – Commitment: What it means to the Scrum Roles?

In Scrum, the idea behind commitment is to ensure the teams are devoted to achieving their goals with quality and on time. However, the concept of commitment to Scrum is often misinterpreted.

The Scrum Guide mentions five values:

1. Focus

2. Openness

3. Respect

4. Courage

5. Commitment

In this article, the last one as part of the series of 5 Scrum values, we'll discuss the Scrum Value Commitment and what it means to different Scrum roles, events and artifacts.

As per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, commitment is defined as an agreement or pledge to do something in the future, or an act of committing to a charge or trust.

With respect to Scrum, commitment means the Scrum Team is devoted to achieving a specific goal. The Scrum Team members commit to collaborate with each other and learn to do the best in every activity.

They commit to the Product Goal and the Sprint Goal; and look for continuous improvements. They stay committed to Agile values and principles, and Scrum practices. And they commit to complete the work within time, ensure transparency, and challenge each other the status quo and move towards continuous improvement.

Commitment - what it means to a Product Owner?

The Product Owner shows commitment by making the best possible decisions. They focus not only on satisfying the stakeholder's needs but also on optimizing the value of the product. In addition, the Product Owner shows a commitment by doing whatever is necessary to develop the best product possible, something that adds value to the end-user, to the community and to the organization at large.

The Product Owner also needs to be committed to motivating the team with a clear, concise Product goal. They also help team in achieving the Sprint Goal by not disrupting them during the Sprint with frequent changes unless exceptional situations such as a market change or regulatory emergencies.

Commitment -  what it means to the Development Team?

The Development Team shows a commitment by creating successful "Done" Increments. The Development Team members know best what they're capable of, so they'll select the work from the Product Backlog and commit to delivering it by end of the Sprint. The Sprint Backlog is owned by the Development Team, and the Sprint Goal will be crafted by all the Scrum Team members. The Development Team also shows a commitment by focusing on the Sprint Goal once the Sprint starts.

Commitment -  what it means to the Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master demonstrates a commitment by supporting the Scrum Framework as defined in the Scrum Guide. The Scrum Master makes sure the Sprint and other time boxes are not extended under pressure to get "Done" Increments.

The Scrum Master also commits to removing any hurdles and impediments that the Scrum Team is facing. Lastly, great Scrum Masters also show commitment by facilitating Sprint planning, protecting teams from changes during the Sprint, and mitigating excessive pressure from Product Owners.

The Scrum Master also commits to the overall change of the organization. They coach the management teams and other stakeholders and help them to move towards the change they want to see in the overall organization's transformation.

Commitment - What it means to Scrum Events and Artifacts?

Here are a few elements that can help promote commitment in Scrum.

Delivering a "Done" Increment by the end of Sprint can promote commitment in an organization, eventually helps for frequent feedback and time to market of the product.

The Product Backlog allows stakeholders to see the current status and planning of the product, which promotes commitment to whatever the stakeholders need as part of the product.

The Sprint Backlog allows the Development Team to reflect its current progress, which enables commitment to transparency, and allows to plan accordingly.

The Daily Scrum enables the Development Team to inspect their progress made so far in the Sprint and adapt their plan for the rest of the Sprint. They figure out the best way to achieve the Sprint Goal, which enables commitment to each other.

The Sprint Review - is used as an inspect and adapt opportunity that promotes commitment towards a product which was envisaged by the Product Owner and the stakeholders.

The Sprint Retrospective allows the entire Scrum Team to inspect their processes, tools, and interactions. This promotes commitment to continuous improvement as a Scrum Team.

Benefits of Commitment

The Scrum value commitment is critical for developing an Agile culture. Commitment allows Scrum teams to work together as a unit and trust each other. It also enables team members to identify each other's abilities and to be careful not to overcommit.

Here are a few benefits of commitment in Scrum.

Commitment creates trust

Commitment ensures everyone in the team commits to the success of the team and not individual achievements. It creates an environment of trust, which leads to higher team standards, team synergy and productive problem-solving.

It creates transparency

Ensures the Scrum Team commits to the Scrum as a whole instead of just choosing the easy practices. It creates a culture of transparency and allows the organization to experience the benefits of inspection and adaptation.

Promotes adaptability

Changes are a part of the development process, and Agility is all about responding to changes in a flexible, productive, and efficient manner. Commitment allows the team to focus on continuous improvement, which makes it easier to adapt and make changes based on empirical data or information.

Brings out the best of the team

Commitment promotes dedication to do the best. It is not possible to predict, control, and manage all complexities in product development. But the Scrum Team can commit to adjusting their behavior and taking actions based on the feedback.

Great products and services

Commitment promotes to deliver great products and services that are planned and promised to the end-users. Commitment by each team members ensures they are moving collectively towards the end-goals.

Conclusion

All members of the Scrum Team should be committed to achieving their specific goals. The teams should be committed to delivering "Done" Increments in time, and the leaders should commit to ensuring the teams don't face any impediments while working towards achieving their goals. 

References:
  1. Scrum Guide from www.ScrumGuides.org
  2. https://explainagile.com/agile/scrum/values/commitment/
  3. https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/maximize-scrum-scrum-values-commitment-part-4-5
  4. https://www.scrumalliance.org/about-scrum/values
  5. https://www.visual-paradigm.com/scrum/the-5-scrum-values/

Author

Suresh Konduru

The author, Suresh Konduru, is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) certified by Scrum Alliance, and is based out of Hyderabad, India. He has more than 23 years of working experience in Fortune 500 companies globally. He conducts workshops for Scrum Alliance flagship certifications. Suresh uses real-world examples, group learning activities to make the workshops learning as well as fun. Trained more than 10,000 students globally, rated consistently 5 out of 5 on Google.