Living scrum values increases the motivation of employees—even if cooperation within companies does not take place in scrum teams.
There are many articles on how processes and methods improve a team's operations and contribute to ensuring quality. These are very important aspects, but there is one thing that is more important to a company than anything else, and that is employee motivation.
How many times have you read in a cover letter for a job application that someone is highly motivated? In how many cases do you think this motivation is still present after several months or years in a company? There are many measures to increase the motivation of co-workers and thus to achieve a higher commitment and ultimately profits.
Motivation is an inner drive
It would be rather superficial to assume that money is the only thing that drives us, humans. In behavioral biology, money is rather used as an amplifier for positive behavior. There are usually a few other hidden aspects that depend on the experiences of each individual. It is often important that the following points are fulfilled:
- The work is varied.
- The responsibility for success lies (also) with yourself.
- The result of the work is significant.
- There are always new challenges.
- There is freedom and autonomy in one's own actions.
- Progress can be experienced.
This leaves the question of how one can manage to fulfill these points in a company. If you're not used to such a situation, you might ask yourself at this point whether it is not irresponsible to give every employee freedom and leave them responsibility.
Values that contribute to motivation
It is good to observe that agile teams are often particularly efficient. One can observe this drive above all in teams that have values. Scrum is a method that prescribes to live by certain values and this works more or less well, but these values are still a motor for motivation.
Before the values are described in more detail, here is a short description of Scrum in five sentences.
- Scrum is a method which describes the agile approach to projects through an iterative and incremental process and is characterized by transparency, review, and adaptation.
- There are fixed events (planning, daily, review, and retro) that take place regularly in a sprint and for which there are precisely defined time frames.
- Scrum has artifacts (product backlog and sprint backlog) to monitor transparency and the ability to review the work done.
- Sprint backlog: The sprint backlog contains the items to be completed in the current sprint.
- Product backlog: The product backlog contains all the requirements for the project.
- There are exactly three roles in a scrum team.
- Product owner: It is in the interest of the product owner to maximize the value of the product.
- Scrum master: The scrum master is responsible for the correct implementation of Scrum within the team.
- Scrum developer: The development team is interdisciplinary and works autonomously.
- The following values are shared in scrum teams: openness, respect, focus, courage, and commitment.
At first glance, Scrum is a method that provides a team with very precise framework conditions. The most important fact should be mentioned at this point: Scrum is only Scrum if all the conditions set out in the Scrum Guide are met.
The difference between the what and the how
Scrum provides a team with very precise framework conditions. It is described:
- What the responsibilities of each individual in the scrum team are.
- What events take place and what the central topics of these events are.
- What artifacts are used for and what their importance is for the team.
What's not defined, however, is how.
So it's up to each individual in the team to define the how in such a way that the project succeeds. This is one of the reasons why the scrum values are very important and without which a scrum team doesn't work.
Scrum is based on three pillars
The three pillars on which Scrum is based are transparency, review, and alignment. To be more precise, this means that scrum teams have a high level of transparency, which makes many things measurable. What is measurable can be reviewed and the consequence should be an adjustment that ultimately leads to an improvement. This also sounds like a lot of control and little freedom, if you forget that there are values in scrum teams and ignore that a scrum team is jointly responsible for the success of the project.
Values are what make constant control and the search for improvements desirable to each individual.
Commitment means that when making team decisions, care is taken to ensure that all team members can commit to them. Disagreements must, therefore, be worked on until everyone in the team not only accepts the decision but also approves of it.
Scrum teams have clearly defined goals that must be achieved. In order to achieve these goals it is important that the entire team is focused on achieving them. Ideally, the tasks in the team should all be purposeful.
The courage to admit mistakes or the courage to oppose the group with an opinion and to explain one's own opinion is particularly important. Only if individual team members are able to apply this courage and find solutions can all other values really bring the team forward.
Many take it for granted, but we should also respect the weaknesses of our colleagues. Respect means paying attention to something and taking it into consideration. If team members are not respected, hierarchy and disagreements can arise within the team.
Openness to new things, openness to others, openness to decisions. It is particularly important that every team member is open. Especially when it comes to new innovations, openness can lead to new insights and improve the product.
Why these scrum values bring a company forward
Employees should have the courage to contribute their own ideas. However, a colleague's own ideas will not be developed if they are not interested in the product being developed. Their interest increases especially when employees feel responsible and know that their voice counts when making decisions. Of course, this also requires the courage to get involved.
Managers should be open to trusting their employees so that they get involved and think for themselves. This leads to co-workers being able to develop their full potential and at the same time relieving the strain on their managers. However, this also calls for a rethink of top management, since they must also give up control.
It is advantageous for entrepreneurs if all colleagues are enthusiastic and feel accountable. This leads to better reviews on rating portals for employees and, above all, to a high level of motivation. Ultimately, even customers benefit from a product that is really well thought out by all those involved.