​Employee Engagement and Professional Scrum – Part 4 of 5

Table of Contents

In this post we will cover questions 7-9 of the Gallup Q12 Engagement survey, and how they can be addressed through Professional Scrum. Stay tuned for the 5th and final instalment, coming soon!!

Question 7: At work, my opinions seem to count

We often refer to “Professional” Scrum being simply Scrum, but with an emphasis on the Scrum Values. While there are some concrete elements of the Scrum framework that address the “my opinions seem to count” question, we need look no further than the values themselves. For anyone not in the know, the five Scrum values are: Focus, Courage, Respect, Openness and Commitment.

“Respect” can come in many forms, but the one we’re most concerned with here is respect for each other’s opinions. A Professional Scrum Master will ensure that the Scrum Events are facilitated in a way that everyone will feel safe to express their own views. However, the accountability for listening to those opinions, and thoughtfully considering them with care falls on each member of a Scrum Team.

Some examples:

  • A Product Owner will solicit feedback from  the developers on the Scrum Team about the ordering of items in the Product Backlog. Are there any technical concerns that should be reflected in the Product Backlog?
  • A Professional Scrum Master will help the team find techniques to better collaborate on identifying solutions to technical problems.
  • An Agile organization will empower their Product Owners to truly Own the product – including making decisions about prioritization that fit within the company’s overall vision and business strategy.

These are just a few of the ways that Scrum helps to increase engagement and motivation through ensuring that everyone’s opinions are heard

Question 8: The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

To take a very slight detour here, I’d like to point you all to the parable of the three stone cutters. There is a pretty good (and short) recitation of it here on YouTube. Take a couple minutes to go and watch that. Now! Don’t worry, I’ll wait..

Are you back? Great!

The parable of the three stone cutters helps us to understand that having a clear shared vision is critical to employee engagement. In Professional Scrum, we have some very specific elements that cause us to think about, clarify and ultimately align to a common purpose. We call these Goals. In particular, Scrum provides us with two types of goals:

  • A Product Goal, which paints a clear picture of the future state of our product. What will it look like when we are done? How will our customers benefit from it? What’s the point of doing all this work?
  • A Sprint Goal which describes the purpose of the current Sprint.

With a clear Product Goal, it is easy for everyone on the Scrum Team to see the impact of  the Product Backlog Items they will be working on. This brings meaning to the work. It increases engagement and leads to higher quality products that bring more satisfaction to your customers.

Sprint Goals simply reinforce this. They paint the picture of the next stepping stone along the way to the Product Goal.

Question 9: My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

The Scrum Guide gives us some broad guidance that relates to quality, and a very specific commitment that helps us very specifically define what quality actually means for the team.

Broadly, the Scrum Guide tells us that the Developers on a Scrum Team are accountable for, among other things, “holding each other accountable as professionals.” This really gets at the “fellow employees” part of question 9. Developers are also accountable for “Instilling quality by adhering to a Definition of Done;”

The Definition of Done commitment is really the secret sauce of a Professional Scrum Team.

From the Scrum Guide:

“The Definition of Done is a formal description of the state of the Increment when it meets the quality measures required for the product.”

When a Scrum Team comes together to craft a Definition of Done, this becomes a “badge of honour” for the team. They know that anytime their team calls something “Done”, it will have been completed in a way that stacks up to the same high standard for quality.

If you ever find yourself working with a Scrum Team who would likely score lowly on Question 9, look to the Definition of Done. Does it actually exist? Does the team refer to it on a regular basis? The solution to Question 9 is often found in the Definition of Done.

So that’s questions 7-9 of the Gallup Q12 survey. Next time, we will take a look at the final three questions from the survey:

  • I have a best friend at work. (yikes!)
  • In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress
  • This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

If you are interested in learning more about improving engagement at your own company, feel free to reply or bonk the orange button below to get in touch!

If you are interested in improving engagement on your own team or at your own company, feel free to reach out!

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