A small note before we start. If you didn’t had the time to read my previous blog post on “Empiricism explain with the help of Making Pancakes”, it might be wise before continue reading this one, to cover previous blog post first. Transparency is one of the Three Pillars in Scrum and in the previous post I covered what Empiricism actually is, which is helpful to grasp this one about Transparency in Scrum.
Ok, let’s talk about “What is Transparency?” in Scrum. 🤷♀️🤷♀️🤷♀️
If multiple customers are not happy with your products or services… and this becomes a recurring situation you are facing, to me that’s a signal to listen really good on “why” customers are not happy, and how can you improve the business.. I believe everyone can follow the story on why transparency is important in any business. If you wouldn’t listen to this valuable information, you might be out of business soon. When I tell this small story to a group in an organization, the majority of the group is always nodding “Yes”.
Maybe it’s not only in businesses. Let’s imagine you are driving your car, you are going to a beautiful destination for your vacation, driving for hours in your car, your windshield is becoming really dirty, lot’s of sand, bugs, and to make things even worse your windshield washer fluid is empty… Experienced this one before? Thats super annoying, right? Especially to focus on driving safely on the road towards your final destination you want clear visibility, right? Lucky enough you can fix that quite easy at the next gas station, buying some windshield washer fluid and put it into your car. How come it is more difficult in Scrum Teams and the organization? 🤷🏻♂️
While running a business and creating beautiful products, delivering awesome services is great. The difficulty is in facing facts and getting the real transparency out of your teams and customers. You might get confronted with the facts, you don’t want to hear, see or experience. Being and accepting full transparency is hard! But what happens if people are not being open in their communication and what they really think? If we are not being transparent in our concerns, failures from past solutions, actual progress and upcoming changes in our work. Where are we then on our road to the destination? Are we off by 100 or 500 kilometers? Did we miss the right exit? Make sure to clean your windshield to have clear visibility, and make the best decisions on the road towards your destination. 🎯
It might be that in some companies it is a culture thing on why people might not communicate openly, pressure from upper management, not enough trust, or even expectations towards each other, that you don’t want to look bad towards your peers and bosses. I am just saying there might be multiple things going on, just make sure as an organization you don’t drive blindly towards your destination you might not end up where you want to be.
Ok let’s do a check on what the Scrum Guide mentions about Transparency? 👁
“The emergent process and work must be visible to those performing the work as well as those receiving the work. With Scrum, important decisions are based on the perceived state of its three formal artifacts. Artifacts that have low transparency can lead to decisions that diminish value and increase risk.”
Imagine you are in your next Sprint Review and your end-customer and your team are not sharing their real concerns, failures from solutions that didn’t work, upcoming changes or even being fully transparent on actual progress. How can you make the best decision on what to do next? You might end up in situations that end-customers are not happy with what they are receiving or even worse, not using the product. Where is the value in that? We just spend €100.000,- on creating a Web Application for internal use, and people are not using it?… Not being Transparent from all angles, is a huge impact on the course of work, as you can imagine. 🤦🏻♀️
- In Scrum we make important decisions based on all three Artifacts:
- Product Backlog
- Sprint Backlog
The information is made clearly visible in both the Product- & Sprint Backlog, to make smart decisions towards the Product- and Sprint Goal. The Increment itself needs to be inspected and with full transparency, better decisions can be made, decreases risk and improves the course of the value delivery for our end-customers.
To improve Transparency for your teams, organization and end-customers.
It really comes down to openly communicating from all angles, internal Scrum Team, external such as business owner, end-users, domain experts, and the perceived state of the three artifacts, to make the best decisions on what to do next! Lucky for us the Scrum Framework helps with Transparency inside and outside the team.
Providing or make all information available, create the safe environment, accept the fact that not always the work is done, ask the right questions, active listening, be openminded and accept facts. Transparency is vital to the Scrum process, as it allows everyone to see and understand what is really happening in each sprint, achieving a bigger and better communication and trust on the team. In my next blog posts you will notice Transparency, Inspection & Adaption will come back in more Scrum elements.
If you really want to reach better benefits of your products & services, the full potential of your organization with the help of the Scrum Framework, Transparency is a key element. Accept this and you will learn more, make better decisions and grow for sure! 🚀
As a gift for you.. 👨🏻🏫👇🏻
“Transparency enables inspection. Inspection without transparency is misleading and wasteful.”
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