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Opinion: Will the Scrum Alliance Change its Stripes?

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Last month, the Scrum Alliance asked Scrum User Groups to sign a licensing agreement. At the time the Orlando Scrum User’s Group said it would shutdown. In the days afterward the Scrum Alliance scrambled to mend fences and solve the problem.

Jim Cundiff, Managing Director of the Scrum Alliance, explained a number of changes as a result of this issue. First, they contacted the affected user groups and told them not to sign the original license agreement. They created draft guidelines on the use of a Scrum Alliance logo that will be customized for each group. In addition, Jim announced the hiring of Cory Foy as a Community Liaison, saying: “I've tasked Cory to build a coalition of community leaders and to serve as that common point of contact for community events and user groups”.

Cory went onto write about the founding of a Scrum Community mailing list who’s purpose:

is for discussions around organizing Scrum events, and also as an initial place to bounce ideas off the community before bringing them here (Scrum Development Mailing list).

This will not be an exclusionary list - if you want to join, then by all means, let me know and I'll make you part of it. By default, we'll announce things directly to this list, or to both lists at the same time, unless there is a specific reason we can't release to the public list first.

He goes on to say:

Finally, I've already been in contact via phone and email with several community organizers, and I am excited about what we're doing in the community, and the interesting things we have coming up. However, I recognize (and have been in the agile community long enough) that there may be bad blood out there from things and directions the Scrum Alliance may have done or gone in. Jim, Howard, myself and the entire Scrum Alliance are committed to building and listening to the community. So if there are ways we can improve, please feel free to post here, or to contact me directly.

Which leads to my question, has the Scrum Alliance really changed? Will they really be as open as Jim and Cory imply? Personally, I believe that things will have turned around if:

  1. The Scrum Alliance becomes more transparent in keeping with the Agile principles that we all teach.
  2. The Scrum Alliance discusses new ideas publicly; asks for and listens to feedback; makes changes (as appropriate) based on that feedback.

As a start to improving communications I would like:

  1. An explanation (even at a high level) as how fees are used.
  2. An explanation of how we CSM/CSP’s benefit from the Scrum Alliance. In other words what benefit do we gain from our fees?
  3. An explanation of why I would want to become a CSC (Certified Scrum Coach). I was part of the team that helped define the certification but have never applied as I can’t see what benefit I would gain.

So the challenge to the Scrum Alliance is “Will the Scrum Alliance change after this incident”. I’m cautiously optimistic that it can.

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