“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.”  -Will Murray, of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

A feature of both Scrum and xP planning games is a public commitment of the team, after they understand the needs of the product owner and develop a plan to tackle the work. The public commitment provides an anchor, which makes it difficult for the team to back away from their commitment.

Team’s abandon public commitment when they want to avoid responsibility and because the public nature of the commitment can seem superfluous.  However, the act of committing serves as an anchor, for the teams and publicly shares expectations with the entire organization. The pressure to live up to the expectation set by the public commitment provides motivation based on a public fear of failure.

Public commitment is part of the planning game that tends to be avoided, overlooked or done privately (i.e. not publicly).  The team’s failure to publicly commit creates ambiguity as to whether the team has to strive to meet their commitment.  Not making a public commitment robs the planning activities of a significant power to influence delivery by creating an anchored goal for the team.