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InfoQ Homepage Interviews Carol McEwan on the State of the Scrum Alliance

Carol McEwan on the State of the Scrum Alliance


2. You’ve been with the Scrum Alliance now 3 years and you are driving change there. Please tell us what’s happening with the Scrum Alliance?

Well thank you, I really am excited about the growth that the Scrum Alliance is seen in the past 3 years. When I started there was about 5 contract staff working there and we had approximately 185.000 members in 3 years, we now have 18 fulltime staff members in 5 contract staff helping us help others achieve their goals hopefully. We are now at 325.000 members and 170 trainers worldwide.


3. How is that membership split, as members these are Certified Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Scrum Professionals, do you have the rough proportions?

By far the most are Certified Scrum Masters, probably about 85% are Scrum Masters. There is a good number of those Scrum Masters that are also Scrum Product Owners and go on to get their certified Scrum Professional designation. We really try and help people understand that our Certified Scrum Masters Class or our Certified Product Owner class is the beginning of their Scrum Journey and how they can go out and help affect change in the world of work to be successful in the companies that are in and help those companies be more Agile. So we’re really trying to help them get to aspire to be Certified Scrum Professional and we are starting to offer a lot more classes available to them and be able to gain additional knowledge to add to what it takes to be a Scrum Master or what it takes to be a Product Owner.

Shane: that’s quite a switch and certainly I don’t know whether that understanding is particularly strong out there in the community because a lot of people sees Scrum Master as this is the end.

That’s correct, I like to see that a Scrum Master is a role on a Scrum Team, a Scrum Master doesn’t not mean that you are a Master of Scrum and that’s really what we have to help people understand there is 3 roles on a Scrum team and there is a Scrum Master, a Product Owner and the team members. So that message is really what we are trying to help the employer market understand and when I’m looking for somebody who can help me transform my organization who should I’ll be looking for. A Scrum Master has the knowledge to be a Scrum Master and a Product Owner has the knowledge to be a Product Owner and be successful on maybe one team but if you really want somebody to help you transform your organization, you are probably looking for a Scrum Professional or a Scrum Coach to help with that transformation.

Shane: So that message – hopefully this is helping get that message up there because certainly I would say that a lot of people are not getting that message yet.

This is the beginning and that’s help spread the word absolutely.


4. You are at the Agile 2014 Conference, what is the Scrum Alliance doing here?

Sure, very excited to explain about the Coaches Clinic, it’s really almost become one of our signature events at any gathering that we do or event that we do. So Scrum Alliance sponsors Coaches Clinic and coaches from around the world will offer and signup to help and anybody can drop in to the Coaches Clinic, signup for a free 15 minute Coaching Session and it’s really to help others, not answer their burning questions but get ideas on how maybe they might go about resolving the problems that they are finding within their organizations, so it’s a really great opportunity for somebody to feel not I guess worried about what the other person is going to think and they ask a question and just get some easy answers. Yesterday in the first day, I believe we coached over 50 people, so it’s start to spread the words, start to spread: “Hey, are you’ve been coached yet, have you talked to a coach yet?”, so it’s really exciting.


5. A little bit of Scrum Therapy?

A little bit of Scrum Therapy, yes.


6. Excellent, so how many coaches have you got volunteering this year?

There are 20 coaches right now but it kind of grows every day because people find that they want to be a part of it, so yes.


7. That’s great. You’ve come a long way in the three years you’ve been on board, where to next?

Where to next? Well we’ve grown our Scrum gatherings significantly, we do 2 globally gatherings every year, one in North America, one in Europe, so the next is hopefully Asia from a Scrum gathering perspective. We found that we’ve doubled the size of the Scrum gatherings as well, so they used to be 250 to 300 and the last couple we’ve sold out over 600, so we are taking the word as far as we can globally and like I said earlier, we really want to be the trusted source of Scrum Knowledge and the place that people come to learn and talk about Scrum, so that’s where we are going, we want to transform the world of work. So the Scrum Alliance and Scrum was initially in our biggest user base is in the Software Development as well, but we really are finding that people are passionate enough about Scrum and understand how can be really, really effective outside of Software Development, so we are taking the Scrum Alliance to the Software Developers and beyond, it’s really exciting news.


8. If you’ve got it at the top of your head, how many Scrum gatherings are running in a typical year now?

Well we do the two global gatherings and then we have done 5 regional gatherings and then we sponsored approximately a hundred events over and about those.

Shane: So that’s a lot of community, a lot of interaction happening.

Yes, absolutely and around the world, it’s global.


9. I’d really like to delve a bit deeper into Scrum outside of the Software World, what are some of the things that you are seeing and driving towards there?

What I find is that people that started in Software Development and became passionate about Scrum also have outside passions, and so we’ve realized that Scrum and Education there is an awful lot of passion around Scrum and Education, Scrum and Government, not just in the development area. So it’s the passions that other people have that are taking into those other areas, but Scrum and Education right now is a really big focus for us trying to make some indents into that, we want to transform the world of work and the youth are our new leaders, they are our future leaders, so we feel that one thing we have heard is: “Gosh, you teach this to adults, this is really fun” so why you don’t teaching it to the children, why don’t you teaching it to… you know, so we have some people out there that have taught at the school level, there is a gentleman by the name of John Miller who took it into a classroom in Arizona and actually had great success with it, so…

Shane: So people coming out of school understanding the Scrum Framework and that way of working and they take it into their work careers.


Shane: Well that will transform the world of work.

That will transform the world of work right.

Shane: Carol thank you for taking the time to talk to InfoQ today, we really appreciate it and good luck with your growth and continuing the role!

Great, thank you so much, I appreciate the time!

Sep 30, 2014