The principles of openness and transparency include being able to be truthful about ways that you are struggling. A Team Member must share their struggles with their Scrum Team and with the ScrumMaster so that the team, at least, knows your status. Without that visibility, the Scrum Team may make decisions that are difficult or impossible to implement due to hidden obstacles. At every Daily Scrum, each Team Member should think carefully about the challenges they are currently facing, and share those challenges. The ScrumMaster cannot do a good job without that transparency since a core part of their work is to deal with obstacles. If a Team Member fails to be open about obstacles, or fails to recognize something in their environment as an obstacle, this can slow the team in its progress towards becoming a high-performance team. Obstacles that persist for a long period of time simply because they are not openly discussed can have a demoralizing effect on the team. On the other hand, a team that creates full visibility into their obstacles can enlist the help of stakeholders, work together to overcome those obstacles, and systematically become better and better at doing their work.
The Product Backlog is a constantly changing artifact, owned by the Product Owner. Stakeholders need real-time visibility into the current state of the Product. Stakeholders should be able to discuss the state of the Product Backlog with the Product Owner at any time, make recommendations and requests. Any change resulting from the request of any stakeholder(s) must be visible in real-time to all other stakeholders. One of the greatest benefits of a highly visible Product Backlog is that it becomes a conversational space for key stakeholders and many others that are connected to or interested in the work of the Scrum team. Of course, a visible Product Backlog also upholds the Scrum value of transparency which is essential for long-term success with Scrum. What if my Product Backlog is not easily visible to every stakeholder? Stakeholders will become disengaged from the work of the Scrum Team, and will forget to give support and/or offer insights into the work. If the Product Backlog is managed in an electronic tool that requires people to login and/or go into a special space that has restricted access then they are much less likely to view it regularly.
I had a fantastic discussion this weekend while on a road trip with my colleague David Parker. We talked about the different aspects of Truthfulness. This is what we came up with.
Are you perfectly honest? Is every statement you make factually correct to the best of your knowledge?
Behaviors that are not honest include: hyperbole and exaggeration, sarcasm, falsehoods, omissions.
Honesty is the quality most obviously associated with Truthfulness.
When you make a commitment, do you keep it? Are your deeds an accurate reflection of your words and thoughts?
Behaviors that erode integrity include hypocrisy, unreliability, lateness.
When someone wants to know something can they find it out from you? Can you provide simple proof of your words and deeds?
Behaviors that prevent transparency include stonewalling, passing the buck, verbal diarrhea, and the use of esoteric or inappropriate jargon.
Do you accept that the unexpected is natural? Have you given up trying to control your environment?
Things that block serenity are anxiety and worry, reactionary anger, backstabbing, and manipulation.
Do you accept that others have wisdom, knowledge and experience that you don’t? Can you admit both the possibility of being wrong, and the fact of being wrong?
There are many things that prevent the development of humility: taking offense from comments about yourself, your ideas or your actions, insisting on your way, vanity, boasting, and even ostentatious self-deprecation.