A Heartfelt Scrum Lesson From The Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Tragedy

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I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that has tormented the lives of the family members of the passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight #307. I write this article now with the deepest respect and heartfelt condolences to everyone involved.

With my morning coffee in hand, I checked Yahoo.com for top stories as I often do. Today’s update about the flight ending in the southern Indian Ocean caught my attention. I clicked on a link and listened to a video of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak speak. The Prime Minister said something that touched my heart:

With Our Deepest Sympathy
With Our Deepest Sympathy

“We share this information out of a commitment to openness and respect for the families. Two principles that have guided this investigation.”

Wow, I wasn’t expecting to hear two of the five Scrum values (commitment, focus, openness, respect, and courage) in a message about a tragedy such as this. The words just jumped out at me and I couldn’t help but notice them. Can you imagine the courage that it took the Prime Minister to go on national television and share the latest development that seals the fate of the passengers of flight #307?

From time-to-time Scrum teams have to deliver bad news too. We may have only partially met our sprint goal, we may have created or discovered some technical debt, or perhaps we failed the sprint completely. When this occurs we have a choice… We can hide the truth… or we can have the courage to share the information out of a commitment to the Scrum values of openness and respect.

What will you do?

Will you have the courage to deliver the message?

Our thoughts and prayers go to out all the victims of this terrible tragedy. Rest in peace from all of us at Braintrust.