I think Courage is hard to define, as engineers we’re often courageous when picking up a new piece of work. We don’t always know how we’re going to solve a particular problem but we’re using to trusting in our own abilities and our support network to accept a task even when ambiguity and risk exists. There may be easier backlog items, ones which we know we’d be able to complete but we prioritise the most valuable, not the easiest.
Courage in my opinion manifests in a couple of ways. One of the responsibilities of any Scrum Developer is to hold each other accountable as professionals. This often isn’t easy, especially when the other developer is more experienced or senior than we are. If we believe that a particular course of action is the correct one it takes real bravery to speak up and make sure our point of view is heard. To understand why this is so important read 5 Dysfunctions of a Team!
It can also take courage to share our own weaknessess or concerns. But it’s this transparency which is so important for Scrum Teams to function effectively. If team members are afraid to share risks then they will most likely go ignored and the Sprint will fail.
Throughout this series on values I have referred to a blog post by Steve Trapps. He has posted a series of questions around the Scrum Values which can help you assess how strongly you live the values of scrum. For Courage his questions are:
- I work on the next highest priority Product Backlog Item (I do not cherry pick the work I pick up in the Sprint)
- If I see something that is wrong with what I’m being asked to do, I will say so.
- I will question & reproach my team members if I feel that they are doing something wrong.
- Regardless of the person talking, I will correct them if I believe that they are incorrect.
- I will stand firm if I believe I am right, even if I’m in the minority within the group.
Do you think these are good questions to assess a team member’s courage? Do you believe you are courageous at work? Drop a comment below or contact me on social media to continue the conversation.