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Scrum Alliance Directors Resign

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Steve Denning and Stephen Forte have resigned from the Board of Directors of the Scrum Alliance, citing the change in direction that the current leadership has taken as being "inconsistent with principles of the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Alliance mission of transforming the world of work".

In a very public move Denning tweeted their action and made their resignation letter publically available

The most pertinant aspect of the resignation letter discusses the "new direction" the current leadership is taking and how it is inconsistent with the principles of agile and Scrum: 

Over the past six to eight months the organization has taken a new direction under the current leadership which we believe is inconsistent with principles of the Agile Manifesto and the Scrum Alliance mission of transforming the world of work. We have tried to course correct but we have been met with consistent resistance.
There have been four resignations from the board in two months, bringing the board of the Scrum Alliance down to six members: Chair Pete Deemer; Assistant Chair Lisa Hershman;  Board Members Eric Engelmann, Rafael Sabbagh and Pete Behrens and Managing Director Manuel Gonzalez.
InfoQ contacted Scrum Alliance Managing Director Manuel Gonzalez for comments and he sent the following statement, signed by board Chair Pete Deemer:

On behalf of the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors, I have accepted the resignations of Steve Denning and Stephen Forte from the Board. The Board earlier this week appointed two independent directors — Dennis McCuistion and Richard LeBlanc — both nationally-recognized experts in good corporate governance and ethics.

The Scrum Alliance remains committed to the highest levels of ethics and integrity in Board operations. Going forward, we are excited to begin a process to identify replacement Board members who share the Alliance's mission to guide and inspire individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices and principles that transform their world of work.   

It is noted that the new board members are nationally recognized experts in good corporate governance and ethics, however nothing is said about their standing in the Scrum community or if they have any experience using Scrum in practice.
InfoQ spoke to Denning about the reasons behind his and Forte's decision, as well as his plans for the future

You’ve been on the board of the Scrum Alliance since 2011 and you were instrumental in setting the strategic direction of the organisation. What has gone so wrong that you needed to resign?

Actually, four directors have resigned from the board of Scrum Alliance in less than two months.

The reasons why Stephen Forte and I resigned are contained in a letter that we released to the public on June 7.

You can see further clues in my article here.

As Todd Little said there: “The first line of the Agile Manifesto is about valuing individuals and interactions ahead of tools and processes. Yet what do we see being sold in the marketplace, but processes and tools? Agile has become way too much about processes and tools, partly as a result of the way the economic engine works. People are looking for, and buying, processes and tools, when it should be about the Agile mindset.”

What is going well with the current Scrum Alliance strategy – what should the organisation focus on keeping?

As we say in the resignation letter, we agree strongly with Scrum Alliance’s mission of transforming the world of work.

 As we also say in the letter: “Exciting initiatives like new approaches at global and regional gatherings, the launch of the Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy and the accompanying webinar series with the world’s leading management thinkers have shown what can be done to realize Scrum Alliance’s mission of transforming the world of work.”

You’ve been one of the leading proponents of agile beyond software and the importance of reengineering the world of work. Will you continue this work? 

I am appearing at several sessions in the Agile 2016 conference at Atlanta.

My work with the Learning Consortium (which is now an independent non-profit corporation) is very exciting. In 2016, we have already had site visits to Microsoft, Ericsson, Riot Games, BMW and Barclays. We will have visits next week to Spotify, CH Robinson and Cerner. The findings of the Learning Consortium will be presented at the Drucker Forum in November 2016 in Vienna Austria. Gary Hamel will be a discussant in our session.

You can see this on the Drucker Forum website (Day 2)

Large-scale Organizational Transformations Enabling Rapid Business Innovation

Organized by the Learning Consortium – a group of corporations, including Microsoft, Ericsson, CHRobinson, Riot Games, Barclays, Cerner, Spotify and Scrum Alliance, focused on discovery and dissemination of innovative management practices.
Moderator: Steve Denning, Member of the Board of Directors of the Learning Consortium, Forbes contributor

·       Panel: two executives from among members of the Learning Consortium (TBD).

·       Discussant: Gary Hamel

Where do you see your role in the broader agile community going forward?

I believe that the Learning Consortium will continue to play a major role in facilitating the ongoing Agile transformation in management. It is showing that Agile management is robust, scalable, able to handle complexity, highly energizing for those doing the work and a better fit with today’s fast-paced marketplace, in which the customer is the boss and continuous innovation is a necessity.

The Learning Consortium is also confirming that even the big old organizations with deeply entrenched bureaucratic management practices are succeeding in becoming Agile. As you know, Harvard Business Review has now embraced Agile. 

In effect, we are learning how to make the whole organization Agile

Peter Stevens of Saat Network posted his thoughts on the Learning Consortium and what is happening with the Scrum Alliance here.  

The latest version of the Scrum Guide was released last week with an emphasis on the Scrum values of Commitment, Courage, Focus, Openness and Respect.  

Editors Note: On 12 July Rafael Sabbagh contacted InfoQ to say he had resigned as Secretary on June 27.  He remains a board member.

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