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Q&A with New Scrum Alliance CEO

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The Scrum Alliance recently appointed a new Chief Executive Officer.  Manuel (Manny) Gonzalez was appointed to the role after an extensive global search.  InfoQ spoke to Manny about his background and his vision for the Scrum Alliance.

InfoQ: Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and why you took the role with Scrum Alliance?

I have spent most of my life looking at different leadership models.  I spent 37 years in the corporate arena, theme parks, water parks, cruise lines, in a very untraditional type of leadership model. And then I spent my last 5 years in an organization called the National Society for Hispanic MBAs. One of my passions is education, so that's what got me there. And there we were looking for ways to enhance and increase the value proposition for our members. We were familiar with Six Sigma certification, we were familiar with Project Management certification, and we were looking at how we could either develop our own certification or partner with someone that had unique certifications to help individuals differentiate themselves when looking for jobs or promotions.

I came across Scrum as I was doing my research, a new way of thinking, and to be honest with you I had no idea what Scrum was. I have read five books about Scrum in the last few months and I've found that, surprisingly, Scrum is very similar to the way I have always operated in my business and my life. Scrum is very much aligned with what I believe. As I continued my research, I learned that Scrum Alliance was looking for a CEO. So I applied for the position, and that's how I got connected and went through the selection process.

InfoQ: What is happening in the Scrum certifications - how many people have the various certifications and what new certifications are under development?

We have more than 400,000 practitioners worldwide using our certifications.  We are continuously learning about our corporate partner’s wants and needs and are developing new products to serve those needs.  We plan to have new products and certifications coming next year, so stay tuned.   

InfoQ: What is the current focus of the Scrum Alliance, what important initiatives are underway and planned?

The Scrum Alliance team has done excellent work on building our value proposition for our customers. We are going to continue that work to build even more value. We are looking into strategic areas of growth. We believe that in order to impact and transform the world of work, one area we have not strategically tapped into is the education area. And I am not talking just about formal educational institutions like universities and high schools. Yes, these are included, but I am talking about all educational institutions and models. Even to primary schools. I think that there is a huge opportunity for Scrum Alliance to go to the education sector and help them transform the way they educate. That's where we haven't played a role ourselves yet, and that's a new market for us to explore.

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