Encourage the Team to Make Decisions By Drawing Reference to Scrum Values



Stage 3

Agile IQ® Level




Our values shape our behaviours, and in turn shape our actions and outcomes. Values underpin all cultures from both the perspective of societies and organisations. To focus on building a strong culture we must embody shared values.

Scrum Values

Successful use of Scrum depends on people becoming more proficient in living five values: [1]

  1. Commitment
  2. Focus
  3. Openness
  4. Respect
  5. Courage

These values give direction to the Scrum Team with regard to their work, actions and behaviour.

Rules-Based vs. Values-Based Decision Making

Two approaches to decision making are rules-based and values-based.

When basing decisions on rules, we require prescriptive direction given to those in the organisation. Such an approach may have benefits (e.g.  lack of ambiguity where rules apply, faster application for new starters) but is detrimental if the organisation wishes to cultivate self-managing teams.

When decisions are based of values, individuals are empowered to utilise their own judgement. In managing traffic, traffic lights and roundabouts are analogous to rules and values-based decision making: [2]

  • Traffic lights – decisions are not made by those actively involved in the process, nor made on the basis of emergent information.
  • Roundabouts – decisions are made by those participating in the process, and made based on current information.

The latter is more consistent with Scrum values as we respect others to make value-based decisions, and have the courage to do so.

Team Charter

A Team Charter is an excellent method for embedding values and behaviours within a team. [3] When constructing a Team Charter, the Scrum values may be incorporated within the team values.

What to Watch Out For

  • Immature teams need guidance and support for transitioning to value-based decision making.
  • Living the values may need to conflict within the organisation. Be aware of potential conflict and manage accordingly.
  • Leaders should speak up when there are behaviours inconsistent with Scrum values. This may relate to behaviours from managers. Some organisations are not culturally ready to question management.

Actions to Try

  • Provide examples of behaviours that embody values so that it is not simply an abstract concept for team members.
  • Celebrate and acknowledge actions that embody Scrum values. Kudo cards are one tool that teams can employ. [4]


1. Sutherland, J. & Schwaber, K. (2020) The 2020 Scrum Guide (TM). https://scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html
2. Bogsnes, B. & Olsson, R. (2019) Beyond Budgeting – Business agility in practice. https://www.agileconference.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/0900-Bjarte-Bogsnes-Rikard-Ollson.pdf

4. Appelo, J. Kudo Box & Kudo Cards. https://management30.com/practice/kudo-cards/
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