The Heart of Scrum


The Heart of Scrum is an organizational checklist to enable Happy respected Scrum Teams delivering valuable products.

As Scrum coaches, our job is to help teams delivering more value.

We believe this checklist will help Scrum coaches in assisting teams and organizations to improve.

Use this as a suggestion on areas to focus, or a checklist to determine what actions to take to allow your teams to excel.

Organizational Mindset

Bringing awareness of the Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles, and Scrum Values to the individuals within the organization. The following checklist helps to ensure that the organizational mindset exists.

  • Top management supports implementing Scrum/Agile in the organization
  • There is awareness throughout the organization about the process and benefits of Agile transformation
  • Relevant Agile training and coaching is made available together with feedback mechanism
  • The organization supports the autonomy, mastery and purpose of the Scrum Team

Team collaboration

To ensure that the team collaborates rather than co-operates, we believe that the following items should be in place:

  • The members of the Scrum Team are communicating in a respectful and non-judgemental way
  • The Scrum Team performs Face-to-Face communication daily
  • The Scrum Team members enjoy working together
  • The members of the Development Team recognise that they have a common responsibility towards achieving the Sprint Goal
  • Development Team members do not open new Product Backlog Items if they can work on the existing one

Development Team Motivation

Here are some of the common team motivators and demotivators.


  • Early dialogue with Product Owner to feel ownership of the Product Backlog Items
  • Autonomy to self-organize and make decisions within the team
  • Team has the needed skills to deliver valuable product
  • Team sees the bigger picture and the value that their work brings to the end user
  • Trust, recognition and respect from the organization
  • Team feels safe to express negative opinions and fail in order to learn
  • Good team chemistry and spirit


  • Individual team members are rewarded by the organization regardless of the team performance
  • Team is constrained by limitations set by the organization (for example reporting, tools, etc.)
  • Team members have their own agenda and priorities
  • External change of the sprint scope
  • Not feeling appreciated
  • Final product not being released or not adding user value
  • Lack of feedback from the Product Owner or stakeholders
  • Allowing destructive team behavior (blame game, etc.)

Product Value Input

Communicating the product value to the development team is crucial for its success.

  • There is an active Product Owner who has a mandate, time, and passion
  • There is a product vision (created with customers, end users, and investors, when possible)
  • The product backlog is accessible to all Scrum team members
  • The product backlog items are ordered
  • The Product Owner participates in Sprint planning, Review, and Retrospective meetings to plan the sprint, give constructive product feedback, and to improve one’s own work as a Scrum Team member
  • The Product Owner is available during the sprint to clarify requirements

Product Increment

At the end of each sprint, the team produces a coded, tested and usable piece of software, and the Product Owner can realize value from the investment as an increment of functionality.

  • The Development Team develops a potentially shippable product increment by the end of every sprint
  • The product Increment contains at least one potentially shippable PBI as per the Definition of Done, without any work remaining
  • The Development Team is protecting the sprint backlog
  • The Scrum Master is protecting the team
  • The Development Team is truly cross-functional and hence able to deliver the Sprint Goal
  • The Development Team has a clear and shared Sprint Goal
  • The Development Team is able to renegotiate the Sprint Goal with the Product Owner
  • The Development Team creates and commits to the Sprint Goal
  • The Development Team builds shippable software in order to build more shippable software
  • The Development Team reviews the incremental product that was accomplished during the sprint.
  • The Product Owner works with the Development Team during the sprint to accept or reject the product increment in order to Release.

Team Excellence

Passionate team with commitment to work together and achieve great results.

  • Team has the needed skills to deliver a product increment
  • If the team is excellent, the team members are excellent
  • Always improving perfection
  • Team uses development methods that support agile mindset and manages its technical debt
  • Team members feel safe to provide constructive feedback and challenge each other
  • Team is confident to embrace disruptive changes
  • Team is highly focused on achieving superior results


Jens Ostergaard
Sherman Gomberg
Lare Lekman
Anna Stoianova
Sten Johnsen
Thomas Elkjaer