Your Ultimate Guide to the Scrum Values Retrospective

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Dec 9, 2021
Updated on
Jun 2, 2022
Table of Content

Feeling like just another cog in the machine? The Scrum Values Retrospective is here to help! 

In the midst of a sprint, especially when you work as part of a team, it can be hard to think of yourself as an individual. That difficulty isn't helped by a lot of retrospectives that - try as they might - don't really solve the issue of why a team isn't functioning the way it should be. 

But, with the scrum values retrospective, all that can– and will– change. Retrospective games may be fun, but in this type of retro, it goes much deeper: The key is to look beyond the way each developer works, and instead to look at the scrum principles they bring out in each team member. 

Sounds a bit too woo-woo and spiritual for a technology-laden process? Let’s dive in a little deeper!

What is the Scrum Values Retrospective? 

Aha! We’re glad you asked. Rather than revolving around the skills of the team, the scrum values retrospective instead revolves around the values of each team member. 

It elevates each member of the scrum so they can be seen as individuals. Then, the retrospective can focus on the scrum principles, behaviors and actions that each person brings to the table. It will also help individuals to see how they act and react in their personal and professional lives. 

Once implemented properly, the scrum values retrospective is incredibly enlightening, allowing scrum masters and team members alike to really understand the core issues the team could be facing in their sprints!

What is the Scrum Values Format?

Think of the Scrum Values Format as the place where your sprint and psychology intertwine. 

The Scrum Values Format revolves around scrum’s five values: 

  • Courage
  • Commitment
  • Focus
  • Respect
  • Openness

The format’s main goal is to work out how a team perceives itself when it comes to these five scrum values.

How does the scrum values retrospective work?

Before we get further into what each of those 5 scrum values mean, here’s how it works:

  1. First, the facilitator and the team will discuss, and establish an understanding of each of the five values. 
  2. Second, each member rates, from 1 to 5, where they think the team stands in each value. 
  3. Third, each team member will rate each value in order, from least important (1) to most important (5). 
  4. Lastly, the facilitator will add up all of the data to create a graph comparing results from the two exercises.

Sounds simple, right? At face value, it is. But, just as nothing worth having ever comes easily, the 5 scrum values format needs a bit of a deeper understanding before it’s implemented:

What do these 5 scrum values mean? 

Courage: “How do we, as a team, work on the tricky stuff together?”

Courage is the backbone of any scrum. In the scrum values retrospective, courage isn't the same as bravery; it's the ability to implement change - to try new things, to be able to learn and, yes, to be able to share failures if and when they happen. 

Focus: “How can we focus better to achieve our goals?” 

Breaking down the goals into more manageable chunks of time will help achieve the overall sprint goal. In addition, it also helps the team to achieve more, by focusing on the smaller hurdles, rather than the overwhelming end task. The answer to this question could also be ‘to limit our current distractions’, whatever they might be. Focus is an important part of the scrum pillars.  

Openness: “How do we remain open minded?”

The entire point of the scrum values retrospective is to keep an open mind to everything and anything that comes your way. Doing so helps the team to give and receive constructive feedback (another of the most important scrum pillars!), although in practice, this is a challenge for most people. There needs to be a culture of openness and the ability to run a truly blameless retrospective in order to promote this. 

Respect: “How do we show respect to one another?”

Regardless of who's in the team, each team member needs to show - at the very basic level - respect to one another, as well as each other’s opinions, experience and decisions. And they in turn need to extend that same respect to you. 

Commitment: “How can we turn our commitments into reality?”

Remember, each team member is an individual before they are a team member, and as such, has personal commitments to the team, as do the team as a whole. This scrum value retrospective aspect can be seen in the team/members commitment to the sprint, commitment to the team and also the commitment as an individual to the overall goals of the sprint. 

When Should You Run the Scrum Values Retrospective?

This is a great type of sprint for any occasion, but is particularly effective as a sprint retro format when the team news to look a little deeper, perhaps if goals have been missed or there is friction in the team. A way to take things up a notch is to use data as a visual tool to help the scrum values retrospective members. 

Retrospective Questions - Examples for Your Scrum Values Meeting

Sprint retrospective questions can really help your team to look deeper in the midst of a scrum values retrospective. Here are a few examples: 

  • What helps you to be successful, as both an individual and as a team as a whole? 
  • What do you expect to happen in sprints, and from whom? 
  • What do you believe is the biggest thing holding you back? 
  • If you could change one thing about the way sprints unfold, what would it be and why? 

The Bottom Line: Your Best Ever Scrum Values Retrospective - Coming Soon

Respective games aside, a Scrum Values Retrospective is one of the best ways to really get to know your team, how they function, and how to get them performing at their very best level. 

This format is a great option when you need to find issues. It allows the team to understand what has been missing and what they need to work on. Scrum helps build three pillars, which are transparency, inspection, and adaptation. By using this retrospective format, you and your team can give honest feedback, assess it, and adapt to make sure those issues do not come up again.

GoRetro is the perfect retro tool to help your team in your next scrum values retrospective: a forever-free, loved-worldwide AI tool (used and loved by Lyft, Netflix and many others!), you can let it take all of the heavy lifting to help your team get to their very best selves.

Get started here


About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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