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InfoQ Homepage News Presentation: Jeff Sutherland on The Roots of Scrum

Presentation: Jeff Sutherland on The Roots of Scrum

Dr. Jeff Sutherland, an Agile Manifesto signatory, ran the first Scrum at Easel Corp. in 1993.  Most recently he has been a Scrum consultant to Microsoft, Yahoo, Ariba, Cadence, Adobe, GE Healthcare, and M3 Media Services.

In his JAOO 2005 presentation in Denmark, Sutherland covered the history of Scrum from its inception thru his participation with Ken Schwaber in rolling out Scrum to industry, to its impact at companies like Easel, Fuji-Xerox, Honda, WildCard, Lexus, and Google.  Along the way he cited the email that started the the humorous (and true) rumour that Kent Beck "stole" Scrum practices when creating XP, and told some interesting stories.

For example: Sutherland cited Google ex-VP engineering Wayne Rosing on "getting management out of the way":
"[when I started at Google in 2001] we had management in engineering.  And the structure was tending to tell people, 'No, you can't do that.'  So Google got rid of the managers.  Now most engineers work in teams of three, with project leadership rotating among team members.  If something isn't right, even if it's in a product that has already gone public, teams fix it without asking anyone.   For a while, I had 160 direct reports. No managers.  It worked because the teams knew what they had to do.  That set a cultural bit in people's heads: You are the boss.  Don't wait to take the hill.  Don't wait to be managed."
Sutherland concluded by looking at Scrum types A, B and his own "all at once" type C, reminding listeners that culture change is the hardest part of implementing Scrum.

InfoQ brings you this exclusive conference presentation: The Roots of Scrum.

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Community comments

  • Exaggerated summary

    by vivek oswal,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    From jeff sutherland's blog at

    The Roots of Scrum marketing pitch on InfoQ concerning Kent Beck, Scrum, and XP is somewhat exaggerated. In the presentation, I discuss the email Kent sent me in 1995 when he requested materials on Scrum. He was certainly aware of Scrum and particularly the Takeuchi and Nonaka 1996 Harvard Business Review paper mentioned in the Roots of Scrum video. XP, however, focuses on engineering practices which are quite useful to Scrum teams. While the first Scrum team used all of what became XP engineering practices in some form, an early decision was made with Ken Schwaber to focus industry-wide rollout of Scrum on team, project management, and scaling issues. As a result, Scrum as a way to manage and scale teams is nicely complementary, yet not overlapping, to XP engineering practices. The highest performing development teams tend to use both Scrum and XP at once as you will notice in my recent paper on the SirsiDynix project.

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

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