How to use Scrum values to facilitate team assessment

 Recently I had a great retrospective session with my team, kind of assessment for our process and I’m eager to share with you.

The idea was taken from an exercise Simon Reindl introduced me in his PSM class a year back.

Simon explained us about the scrum values and asked us to set rules as working agreement for the 2 days class that are aligned with these values. He drew 5 circles on a flip chart. Each circle had one value written in it and after we discussed working agreement in teams for 5 minutes, we wrote the rules on sticky notes and put them in the related circle.  This exercise had great impact because it emphasized the importance of the scrum values as a base for the entire Scrum framework implementation and because it created high commitment for the agreement since the students are the ones who creates it for themselves.

During one of our recent weekly team meeting while discussing day to day issues and dilemmas, I improvised a session based on this exercise described above to assess our team and it was so successful so I thought sharing it with you. I drew 5 circles on a flip-chart, each circle represented a value. Then we had 5 minutes where each of us had to describe our behaviour as a team with respect to one or more values, where the behaviour could be aligned to the value or contradict it. For example - we help each other all the time and brainstorm for any issue we have with our work - perfectly aligns with respect and openness. Often feel overwhelmed from context switching and our vision is not always very clear for us, which contradicts focus.

 After we put all our sticky notes on the board, we noticed several interesting things:

  1. Although we were not asked to describe behaviour for each value, all 5 scrum values circles had notes in them
  2. Although most values had supportive and non-supporting behaviours related to it, there were 2 prominent values where all notes were put in the misalignment part of the circle.
  3. We ended the exercise with clear summary of our strength and weaknesses of using the Scrum values as a team.

Our next step would be to have team discussion about how to move those mis-aligned behaviours to behaviours that aligns with the Scrum value to strengthen our team.

I believe that this exercise could be relevant in any phase of a team lifecycle. It could provide great mirror for the team spirit and promote great discussions for improvements in different areas.


I wonder how participants from my PSM class will use this Scrum Values exercise in their day to day activities :)


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