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Scrum Values and The Duality of Openness

The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.   
Niels Bohr 
Openness is synonymous with transparency, and this requires candid and frank communication.  The most important word in the previous sentence is communication – if this isn’t happening then openness is simply impossible.   This can be a challenging value to hold dear and is particularly difficult to achieve if respect and courage are not yet instilled, and even more difficult it trust is yet to be established – this is probably why Commitment is the first value!  Anyone affected by conversations and decisions must be made aware as soon as possible – and without disrupting their current focus.   Openness needs to be considered at the highest levels of the organisation. Consider distributed, multiple teams facing a common impediment. There is little opportunity for passive communication and it’s probably something that is not within a single team’s control – in this situation openness becomes essential to everyone.  The teams need to be fully aware of the progress being made with such issues in order to plan effectively.  Openness in this situation can be as simple as a Big Visible Chart of what actions are in progress and by whom – somewhere everyone can see and pull the information as suits.Openness is certainly not about everything being communicated to everyone, in fact we strive to protect our teams from some of the more frank conversations that may take place.  Simply put we aim to make sure everyone who needs to be involved actually is.
openOpenness comes into play again in relation to being honest and leaving our biases behind, being ready to explore new ideas, whether your own or others.   This flavour of openness is particularly useful to remember in games, planning and reviews.  Honesty is infectious, when a person is open about failures it encourages everyone around them to be comfortable sharing their knowledge and mistakes too.  Just a little openness offered to others can, and often will, spark innovation and creativity in others, leading to better software, higher quality and high performing teams.

More on Respect and Courage to come…