The Agile Bear Inspirations
Episode 2: Focus

In the first episode of the Agile Bear Inspirations series, Scrum Values, I invited you to join me on an adventure and exploration of the five Scrum Values. In this installation, we begin with the Scrum value “Focus”.

Churchill Quote

From the first episode of the Agile Bear Inspiration series, you’ll remember the value of Focus: Because we focus on only a few things at a time, we work well together and produce excellent work. We deliver valuable items sooner. It’s amazing what people can do when they do one thing at a time and focus on it. They get it done, quickly and with high quality! Being focused is not just being busy, which is the corporate equivalent of throwing stones at every dog that barks. The Scrum value of Focus says that being busy doesn’t matter. The question is, ”What did we get done?” One of my favorite aspects of the Scrum process is how clearly all the roles are defined. Whether Team Member, Scrum Master, Product Owner, or Stakeholder, everyone should have a clear understanding of how to fulfill their role. To successfully run a Scrum, each member on the team must remain focused on their responsibilities so that they can support the others completely:

  • The Delivery Team focuses on delivering a product as the Product Owner envisions it – real working software.
  • The Product Owner focuses on envisioning and defining the final product as well as what increments of deliverable value will produce that final product, always prioritizing stories so that the team completes the top priority first.
  • The ScrumMaster focuses on delivering an effective team that follows the process, continuously improves, and is not distracted. Most importantly, the ScrumMaster is also responsible for helping remove impediments along the way.
  • Stakeholders focus on providing the entire Scrum Team their expectations of the finished product as well as constructive, actionable feedback that might help the Team deliver the envisioned product.
  • Leadership focuses on empowering the Scrum Team to self-manage and being available to advise and help the team whenever needed.


People often associate homework with school—and with not doing it. Well, adults have homework, too, but in general I think of homework—both of school days and now—as improving who I am as a person. I get to learn more and hopefully help others learn in the process. The homework for this lesson is simple but effective. Fill in the blank:

“I believe in the Scrum Value Focus; therefore I will___________________________________.”

In this exercise, focus on what you—as a member of a Scrum Team, or as just an Agile individual—will commit to do to demonstrate that you value the Scrum Value Focus. For example, your answer might be:

“I believe in the Scrum Value Focus; therefore whenever possible I will work on only one task until it is done.”

See how many you can create!

Then What?

You could incorporate this type of a commitment to focus into your team’s working agreement. One suggestion is to hold a small workshop with your team to create this artifact or, less preferred but also effective, do it through email, having everyone fill in the blank with their own commitment(s). Then you can all vote on which your team agrees is a team commitment to Focus. Next, add one final set of ideas around how the team wants to hold each other accountable to this new team agreement. Finally take a commitment vote, and post it in a prominent place in your team room(s). Remind each other to follow through with the agreement and gently calling each other out; both as a celebration of the good and the opportunities to improve and learn. Also, every once in a while have a conversation with the team about how you have been applying this value. Share your team agreement with us here—we really are interested in your maturation process in the agile mindset! I leave you now with another quote of the matter of Focus:

Bell Quote


Read about the second Scrum Value: Courage

Episode 1: Scrum Values