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Scrum at 21 with @KSchwaber | @DevOpsSummit #Agile #AI #Scrum #DevOps
A look back through the eyes of Ken Schwaber, its co-creator
By: Ken Schwaber
May. 7, 2017 04:30 AM
I'm told that it has been 21 years since Scrum became public when Jeff Sutherland and I presented it at an Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) workshop in Austin, TX, in October of 1995.
Time sure does fly. Things mature. I'm still in the same building and at the same company where I first formulated Scrum. Initially nobody knew of Scrum, yet it is now an open source body of knowledge translated into more than 30 languages. People use Scrum worldwide for developing software and other uses I never anticipated.
Scrum was born and initially used by Jeff and me to meet market demand at our respective companies. After we made Scrum public in 1996 and writing my paper SCRUM Development Process, we started trying Scrum publicly, in companies with critical needs that were willing to try anything. The first organization where we employed Scrum was NewsPage, one of the first Internet news aggregators and publishers. This was followed by four years of helping finance and healthcare organizations.
Everything stands on the shoulders of the work of others, and we borrowed heavily prior to 1996:
The father of XP, Kent Beck, contacted Jeff Sutherland in 1996 to ask if we minded if he borrowed some of the ideas from Scrum; he reasoned that there was no need to reinvent the wheel.
From its introduction until the technology crash of 2001, the work we did with organizations implementing Scrum provided us with the learning we needed to evolve and strengthen. Scrum gained most of its current events, roles, and artifacts during that time. We also gained confidence that it worked, creating value in the most complex, unlikely circumstances. Jeff and I continue to listen, think, and update Scrum today.
Lightweight, or Agile
We created a synthesis of our best thoughts and refined them into a single set of principles and values. Ward Cunningham published them on his wiki and put up a place for people to sign their support - The Agile Manifesto, which struck a chord. In retrospect, the choice of the word "Agile" was a brilliant call to arms. That word became magical.
In response, we created the Agile Alliance, also in 2001. Alistair Cockburn devised and conducted its first conference in Salt Lake City, focusing on community and conversations. His contribution has been forgotten, but it was seminal.
Driving Scrum Awareness
I decided to take spreading Scrum and Agile on my shoulders. I traveled worldwide, giving free presentations, classes, seminars and beer hall conversation with anyone who would listen. I also published articles, many of which are still at my first website, controlchaos.com.
People started using Scrum . Start-up and software companies adopted it to get their products off the ground or to create frequent releases. People used it in their IT organizations projects to help their projects succeed and because it was just more fun. The pleasure of coming to work to collaborate with others in small teams to build great products that our customers loved was a universal magnet.
Scrum started to become known. When I was working with Salesforce.com for example and with many other companies, it was amazing to hear business people telling each other, "You aren't going to believe it, my software organization is finally listening to me and has already showed me some working software." The typical business person response was, "You mean I don't have to wait 18 months to get software that I don't want." My response, which reflects the heart of Scrum, was, "That's right. Now you'll get something you don't want in 30 days."
Scrum Remains Simple but Operates in Complexity
Of course, this requires diligence, intelligence, and courage (going back to the Scrum Values of Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect, and Openness). You can waste money and lose opportunities if you don't have or exercise these values.
To help organizations see how much agility their development organization has, I devised a value metric, called the Agility Index. Try it out and get a feel of how you are doing, the metrics measuring (broadly) your:
This index is useful whether you are building software of just trying to gain business agility and compete effectively. This is particularly true as businesses become more and more automated.
A combined technical and business manager that drives value from one or more businesses functions is supplanting the CIO. Agility and Scrum are the bedrock. Scrum values determine success, which cannot be bought; instead it must be earned the old fashioned way - hard work.
Taking Scrum Forward
I always thought that Scrum was enough. People would figure out how to use it in their specific circumstances. My part was to teach them and to build a body of consultants and trainers to help them.
Over the years, I've added some things to help people use Scrum to build innovative, leading-edge products. Briefly:
Scrum.org sustains and enhances these largely free Scrum facilitation tools and processes. You can either figure them out and use them yourself, or, if needed, I have created trainers and consultants to help you.
There are many Scrum, Agile, DevOps, and Lean books, conferences, and expositions. Some of the books are excellent sources, but far more conferences, expositions, consulting organizations, and trainings are pretty useless, serving as money-making endeavors that create overhead, confusion and waste. By several definitions, Scrum is more than 400 pages long.
Scrum will serve you if you understand it, embrace its values, and rely on people working together to fulfill themselves while creating valuable products. This was true when Jeff and I started Scrum and it is true now. Ensure that anyone who claims to be an expert really uses Scrum.
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