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CaSandra has a bachelor's degree in Computer Information Systems and has taught Agile along with Scrum and Kanban for over 10 years.
If you are a software developer, you have probably heard the term Agile or have heard of the Agile Manifesto. The two have become popular buzzwords in the software industry and many use it without truly understanding what it means.
Often, Scrum and Agile are used interchangeably, which isn't exactly correct. Agile is a way to describe an incremental approach to software development and Scrum is the framework or set of processes that helps implement incremental delivery. The Agile Manifesto was published in 2001 as a set of values and principles. Scrum, being an Agile approach, follows the same principles as the Agile Manifesto but has its own set of values as well. It is one of the many frameworks that fall under the umbrella of Agile or the Agile Manifesto.
On a quest to demystify the two so that we can understand the key differences, we listened to Bob interview Jody, an expert in Agile and Scrum who has been practicing the two for the past fifteen years. Bob is a Director of Development who is trying to teach his team of developers about Scrum.
Bob asks, ''Jody, could you please explain the Agile Manifesto in simple terms for my team?''
''Sure, Bob!'' Jody replies. ''The easiest way to explain it is that the Agile Manifesto has four simple values. The values were created by a team of software engineers and developers, much like your own team, to encourage people to develop better ways of building complex software. The first value says the individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools.''
'What does that mean exactly?' asks Bob.
''It means that the focus should be more on people and the interaction between them versus becoming dependent on tools and processes. For example, instead of depending on a tool to tell you when to begin a task or even what your task is, try to talk with your teammates face to face and agree on the tasks and start times. Or, instead of spending hours on developing processes that may provide little value, focus more time on actually developing software. This is similar to the second Agile Manifesto value, which states that working software is valued more than comprehensive documentation.''
'That makes sense. So, the first two values could be summarized as follows: People should work together more often and focus on the best ways to deliver quality working software instead of writing excess documentation or depending on tools? ''
''Yes, that would be a perfect, summarized statement.''
''So what are the remaining two values?''
''The third value says that customer collaboration should be valued more than contract negotiation. Do you see how the writers of the Agile Manifesto really want people to collaborate?''chuckles Jody.
''Now for the final value: Responding to change is valued more than following a plan. This doesn't mean that we should ignore contracts or project plans, but it means that customer collaboration and accepting change should be encouraged.''
''Thank you, Jody! That does make sense and thanks for keeping it as simple as possible!'' states Bob.
''No problem! Now that you understand the Agile Manifesto, let's discuss values specific to Scrum,'' says Jody.
''Scrum follows the four values of the Agile Manifesto but also outlines its own set. They are listed as: focus, courage, openness, commitment, and respect. Here is a poster that shows the five values and what they mean.' Jody hands a large, brightly colored poster to Bob.
It reads as follows:
The first is focus. Because we focus on only a few things at a time, we work well together and produce excellent work. We deliver valuable items sooner.
The second is courage. Because we work as a team, we feel supported and have more resources at our disposal. This gives us the courage to undertake greater challenges.
The third is openness. As we work together, we express how we're doing, what's in our way, and our concerns so they can be addressed. We create an environment of openness.
The fourth is commitment. Because we have great control over our own destiny, we have commitment to success.
The fifth is respect. As we work together, sharing successes and failures, we come to respect each other and help each other become worthy of respect.
''Wow, this poster is nice! Do you mind if I keep it for my team?''
''Of course! Understanding these values will help people understand why there are certain rules when it comes to practicing Scrum. Scrum is meant to be very lightweight and flexible. However, there are guidelines. For example, a team should always have a daily stand-up meeting. This helps the team to practice focus. If every teammate is setting their daily agenda as a team and with each other, there will be a strong focus on their daily tasks. The stand-up meeting is not meant to be a status meeting.''
''I have never heard it explained that way, but that makes perfect sense. I especially like the values of openness. We need to be able to express our concerns so that we can address issues, fix them, and not repeat the same mistakes.''
''Yes! Exactly! And the team needs to have the courage to be open and respect each other when they don't always agree.''
''Thanks for coming, Jody! This was very helpful.''
The concept of encouraging productive human behavior has been around for a very long time. The values behind Scrum really drive human interaction and productivity, much like the Agile Manifesto values. Once there is a strong understanding of Scrum's values, teams can better relate to its recommendation of specific ceremonies and meetings or its recommendation of having a small team structure.
Everything surrounds the five Scrum values: focus, courage, openness, commitment, and respect. Practicing these five values not only encourages teams to find better ways of delivering quality software, but it also encourages healthy, successful interactions between members of the team.
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Back To CourseAgile & Scrum Training
9 chapters | 131 lessons