Big Changes at Scrum Alliance

| by Dan Mezick Follow 0 Followers on Oct 21, 2010. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

The Scrum Alliance issued an email to members on Wednesday. In that email, the new Managing Director, Donna Farmer, introduced herself:

I may be new to Scrum, but I’m no stranger to strategic development for both non-profit and for-profit organizations. A former litigator, I’ve managed my own business (TOR LLC), served as Director - Global Networks for the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), and was Executive Director of Vivit, the endorsed users’ group for Hewlett-Packard’s software products. I’ve even done some time in Congress, serving on the US House of Representatives' Committee on Science as Counsel for the Subcommittee on Technology.

She also suggested she has specific ideas, while asking the membership to provide feedback:

I have some ideas about what the Scrum Alliance needs to do to best serve you, but I want to hear from you directly about your needs, your concerns, and your work life. I’ve started a Google group where you can engage directly with me. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. If you need to talk one on one, you can call or email me at anytime. My door is always open.

Her Scrum Alliance profile, with phone number, appears here.

Earlier this past week, a post on a Scrum message board indicated that Tobias Mayer, the creative director of the Scrum Alliance, had renounced his Scrum Alliance certifications and quit his role in the organization. The entire post can be found here.

Some quotes from the post include:

At the end of August I renounced my SA certifications of CSM, CSP and CST, and at the end of September I resigned from my SA staff role as creative director. The role was meaningless; the SA is not a creative organization.

He goes on to say:

The SA is the archetypical unScrum organization, a big lumbering machine, intent on maintaining its status quo, valuing profit over service, control over trust, and engaging in operating practices that are opaque, undemocratic and lacking in integrity.

But wait. There's more:

The Scrum Alliance ...has become the epitome of the dysfunctional organization that Scrum practitioners are committed to transforming.

And even this:

Scrum needs an organization run by its members, for its members, and not by some randomly selected group of individuals, some with monetary interest and others with little or no commitment to the Scrum community, and in some cases a dubious understanding of Scrum.

The incendiary blog post has generated over 60 comments by press time. A quick scan of the Scrum Alliance web site's news section reveals nothing in the way of a response. The recent Scrum Alliance email introducing the new Managing Director is silent on the issue of substantial and recent staff changes at the Scrum Alliance.

The blog post by Mayer suggests he has some plans to support and/or start a new kind of Scrum-community-related project:

If the SA doesn’t reinvent itself at this time it will fast become irrelevant to its members, who will look elsewhere for new inspiration. Which is exactly what I plan to do. There is a big wide world of hope, love and passion, a world of inspiring people and outlandish ideas.

Meanwhile, the Scrum Alliance is going global. According to the Managing Director, Donna Farmer, as published in the email sent to members on 10/20/2010:

One of the first things we’re doing is going global. We’re moving our headquarters to New York City and will soon be opening offices in Brussels and Beijing. You’ll be seeing a lot of new faces around the Scrum Alliance...

Emails to Mr. Mayer, and a phone call to Scrum Alliance Managing Director Donna Farmer were not returned by press time. Stay tuned to InfoQ, as the events unfold in the world of Scrum.

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Big changes at the Ohta Faction too by Dan Tines

I hear there's some big changes for the Ohta Faction too

Re: Big changes at the Ohta Faction too by Mike Bria


I presume your reply to be a [rather funny] sarcastic way of saying "who frikin' cares about what's going on with the Scrum Alliance?".

I'll point out though this post is *really* highlighting Tobias' remarks about the SA and the state of the Scrum "organizing body". That's what's important and noteworthy. More specifically, that the atmosphere of that organization is a reflection of what often characterizes many software orgs who've gone and invested in (pun intended) Scrum, both before and sadly after that investment has been made.

As a result of it all, it does more harm than good to the overall state of our industry. That's what resonates with me about this.

BTW, that's some crazy stuff about Morimoto. What's this world coming too?


Re: Big changes at the Ohta Faction too by Dan Tines


Actually when I first read the term "Scrum Alliance" my demented head started thinking "Ohta faction".

But I do get a kick out of all "the process" and organizational overhead that is going into promoting Agile and Scrum these days.

So I would probably agree with Tobias' remarks and it's probably a wake-up call for others.

P.S Did something happen to Morimoto?

Agile Scout covered this as well by Peter Lee

Agile Scout covered Tobias' blog as well as emailed SA for a comment.

I fear for Scrum now by Wil Hepworth

We have SA and Schwaber's new org,, both competing in the same space. Which carries more weight? I'm not sure.

I do feel that the SA has become like PRINCE in the UK. It's primary purpose is to raise money not standards. I come across PRINCE practitioners and CSMs who don't know what they're doing, but are "certified".

This is me speaking as an independent consultant. What will organisations make or already make of this melee?

I feel like I'm experiencing the Unix wars all over again.

This is not good for Scrum or for agile generally.

Re: Big changes at the Ohta Faction too by Mike Bria

P.S Did something happen to Morimoto?

The link you posted involved Morimoto. IE, just joking around.

Disappointed by Mark Levison

Dan M. - you choose to highlight Tobias's questions, but none of the comments or other replies. Tobias has some good and difficult questions. They need good answers. However there is more grey here than your news item acknowledges see:

Clearly I'm betting that Scrum Alliance is slowly turning the corner as I'm applying to be a CST.

Mark Levison
Agile Pain Relief Consulting

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