Scrum Log Jeff Sutherland

Scrum is an Agile development framework that Jeff Sutherland invented at Easel Corporation in 1993. Jeff worked with Ken Schwaber to formalize Scrum at OOPSLA'95. Together, they extended and enhanced Scrum at many software companies and helped write the Agile Manifesto.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The First Scrum Project Manager

John Scumniotales, the first ScrumMaster

"The end of the project manager, the birth of the ScrumMaster, a transient job valid until the organization has changed and is self-managing." Ken Schwaber

The quote from Ken Schwaber elequently describes the role of a project manager. Just as Batman Returns shows us a better Batman this summer, the ScrumMaster was designed to be a better Project Manager in the summer of 1993.

More specifically, the key influence on project management in the creation of the first Scrum was a consulting engagement I undertook in Ireland at Peat Aviation during the entire year of 1990. I was brought in to be the System Architect of a group of 66 consultants, all the best in their various fields, hired from all over the planet to build the technology future for the worlds fastest growing aerospace company, Guiness Peat Aviation. I was essentially a clone of the CIO in residence as well as System Architect for one of the first large object-oriented projects built in a Microsoft environment. We worked in beta versions of Windows 3.0 for a year before it was released. This project deserves a paper in and of itself on Scrum origins.

When the budget began to get cranked down and the demands for immediate delivery skyrocketed we shrank the team to 15 people, forming 3-4 subteams, and moved to a concurrent engineering environment. Code was rebuilt in real time when anyone changed a class. Everyone developed off real time builds running against the production database test system. As the Scrum of Scrums leader, as well as the chief architect, the hard problems where always thrown in my lap to fix personally.

The team turned to me for project management strategy when the team began to hit full stride. These guys were all pistol packing, hired gun type consultants, and I remember it was 2pm on one Tuesday afternoon when everyone said with one voice - get project management up and running Now! Before 5pm it was done.

The biggest problem on this project from an organizational point of view was that we had a full time consultant assigned as project manager that spent all day every day trying to keep our GANTT chart accurate in Microsoft Project. It was an impossible task! He couldn't do it and we were wasting a key resource.

As a result, when Jeff McKenna and I worked together at Easel to create the first Scrum and we assigned John Scumniotales the role of first ScrumMaster, GANTT charts were banned, the first Burndown Charts were created, and the ScrumMaster became the Project Manager.

In this case, John was also the lead engineer with outstanding interpersonal skills. He spent 80% of his time coding which was the design goal for the first ScrumMaster, went on to create his own company and sell it to Rational, then became head of development for Rational Rose.

John Scumniotales currently runs development and product management for PacificEdge Software and his name should be memorialized in Scrum lore as the first instantiation of the Scrum project manager, the ScrumMaster.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Scrum Evolution: What's it all about?

Love it or hate it, the Agile 2005 Conference reviewers thought the paper below was either a major innovation or a gross violation of the principles (dogma) of Scrum. It's motto is innovate or die and only the paranoid survive in the global economy. Does it show the future of Scrum? Well the paper was accepted for presentation at Agile 2005 and many people have asked for the real bits (all 27 pages) before I chop it down to the required 10 page IEEE paper. It could take you to CMM Level 4 or beyond. Decide for yourself whether this paper should be burned or nailed on a door somewhere!

Future of Scrum: Support for Parallel Pipelining of Sprints in Complex Projects

Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D.

Certified ScrumMaster Training

Patientkeeper, Inc., Brighton, MA, US


Scrum was invented to rapidly drive innovative new product to market. Six month releases used to be a reasonable time from for an enterprise system. Now it is three months for a major new release, one month for upgrades, and one week for maintenance releases. The initial version of the Agile Scrum development process was designed to enhance productivity and reduce time to market for new product. In this paper, one of the inventors of Scrum goes back to Scrum basics, throws out preconceived notions, and designs Advanced Scrum using multiple overlapping Sprints within the same Scrum teams. This methodology delivers increasing application functionality to market at a pace that overwhelms competitors. To capture dominant market share in 2005 requires a metaScrum for release planning, variable length Sprints, overlapping Sprints for a single team, pre-staging Product Backlog, daily Scrum of Scrums meetings, and automation and integration of Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog with real-time reporting. A practical example of Advanced Scrum describes how mobile/wireless product teams implemented Scrum process automation during 2000-2005. Administrative overhead for over 45 enterprise product releases a year was less than 60 seconds a day per developer and less than 10 minutes a day for a Project Manager. While Advanced Scrum is not for the uninitiated, the future of Scrum is still Scrum, just faster, better, and cooler.