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“Focus” as a Scrum Value

Many IT projects these days have adopted Scrum for their software development life cycle. It has proven to be successful because Scrum believes in its core values — focus, commitment, courage, respect, and openness.

Scrum values ( Source: www.guntherverheyen.com )

One of the most important value additions through scrum practice is the focus, and I would like to dwell on the reasons why it is so valuable in Scrum.

Oxford dictionary defines focus as “the center of interest or activity.” This is exactly what team members in a Scrum team learn while they are working on delivering a product.

Iterated Product Delivery

Scrum emphasizes delivering a potentially shippable product in time-boxed iterations. This means that at the end of each sprint, the delivery has to happen. The daily stand-up meetings are conducted every day with the focus of discussing the hindrances faced, about what percentage of the user story is completed, and what is planned to be completed for the next day. Hence, it becomes inevitable for every person in a team to make sure they have one or the other input to give during the meeting, to not be questionable.

Time Factor

Time is a major factor in Scrum and it keeps decreasing exponentially! (Exaggeration? To an extent, yes!) The number of meetings and calls gives the team much less time to actually work on the deliverable. In a week’s time, the team has to create and assign user stories, code to develop the product, and carry out the white box and black box tests. This helps the team focus better on getting the job done, owing to the pressure of delivering quality products on time.

Scrum and the Storywall ( Source: www.barryovereem.com )

Benefits

One of the important mantras to be followed during the Scrum method of product delivery is YAGNI which means “You ain’t gonna need it!” This helps in retaining the focus on building and testing the product without bothering about future or past requirements or hindrances. Even if there is some change that is imminent to happen during the next sprint, the current sprint won’t be affected. This lets the team focus only on the current deliverables.

Streamlined workflow:

The product backlog refinement meeting happens right after the user stories are picked. This helps the team to have the requirements and specifications of the Product Owner before starting to work on the deliverable. The focus is hence un-tampered during the sprint. If there are any requirements to be added or modified, the product owner discusses it with the Scrum master and the project owner to see if the new requirements are in alignment with the project or not. The Scrum team will not be a part of this meeting unless the product owner and the project manager decide that the current sprint should be utilizing the discussed requirements. This lets the team focus only on the current sprint and not get confused or disturbed.

Scrum adds many values to the team, incorporating its principles out of which focus is the most commendable. Focus helps in simplifying complex problems and lets the team work, keeping the requirements of the current sprint in mind.

Sources:

https://guntherverheyen.com/2013/05/03/theres-value-in-the-scrum-values/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(software_development)

https://www.scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html