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Learning the scrum values (free exercise)

Over the last few years I have noticed that when you ask someone “what is scrum?” they immediately start explaining the process. Sprints, Retrospectives, Grooming etc. Hardly ever do I hear about the values of scrum being talked about.

And its worse than that actually. Most scrum masters – yes the ones with certifications and those without – don’t know what these values are. Can you name the values?

Do it now – out loud.

 Hint: there are 5!



As a scrum master I believe that these values are what scrum is all about and that without them you can only get so far. Based on how few people remember them I was wondering how I could train these so that people understand, feel and possibly experience them.

After a bit of internet trolling I found nothing that could help and so came up with a version of this game. I have now run this about 4 times, including with friends who know nothing about scrum or agile!


… Respect … Openness … Commitment … Focus … Courage …


Scrum Value Cards


Below is a link to a PDF with 10 cards. Print them out and stick the appropriate definition on the back of the image. This is one set of cards. I use 3 sets with groups of around 10 people.

Ensure you have post-its and pens available for people to make notes.

[button link=”” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”]Download Cards[/button]


Hand each person a card in an unmarked envelope. Depending on how many people you are teaching, you can hand out more cards per person. Tell them to keep their card(s) secret for now.

For each card they have they need to read the definition and think of a situation they have experienced or witnessed or know about that explains the value. Let them know that they will be sharing this story – and can make notes if needed. I usually give the group 3 to 5 minutes for this.

State the first value – on powerpoint or show the card to the group. Read the definition. Ask who has the card – remember there may be more than one with that value. Ask them to share their stories. After each story check that the group recognizes the value in the story, either by asking or by paraphrasing.

Continue through all the values.

Other Ideas:

Each person who has tried this has changed something – have fun and go wild! Leave a comment about your changes and let us know how it played out 🙂


4 thoughts on “Learning the scrum values (free exercise)”

  1. Love this idea. And very true it is. I think people have lost values in the workplace and it should play a role which is just as significant as job roles. It should be built into the individuals job roles.
    I’ll give this a try when I can see values being implemented across teams, rather than being destroyed on a continuous basis. Therefore my question, can this be driven in a team, when most of the scrum values has already been broken through decisions that the business felt they had to take due to business circumstances? How do you show the business that these values can add to the business value? Through these cards, I think I know the answer, but how do I sell that to the business.? Is it a thing which can be sold?

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful questions Sharna 🙂
      Personally – I dont think the values can be sold. I also dont think there is value in memorizing them to rattle off. This exercise was to help people personify and thus identify with a memory and emotion they experienced. Kind of like muscle memory when you ride a bike? You never forget how to ride a bike. If you experience and recall these values the hope is you will identify with them (or their absence) in real world scenarios.
      If you live the values and talk about your experiences then they too will become more valued and understood. If just one person is inspired – you’re on your way.
      Lead by example, live the values 🙂

  2. Thanks for the cards and the inspiration. In my opinion working in a scrum team should be a personal journey.Each member grows as well as the team grows.

    I changed the exercise a bit. The “team” was the development team, the PO and the IT operations (11 people). The agenda:

    1) Set the stage
    2) Dialogue in pairs: Take two values. Discuss the values, Think of a situation they have experienced or witnessed or know about that explains the value. (20 min. ideally 25 min)
    3) In plenum. Ask each pair to share there stories, one value at a time. As a bonus question: Where does the team see value in the scrum framework. (45 min)
    4) Close the session. Decide what to do. (10 min) We decided to use and perhaps measure or redefine the values in Retrospectives.

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