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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scrum at CNN Atlanta

During a Scrum Certification course in Atlanta, I gave a presentation at CNN for the local Agile community - Pretty Good Scrum: Secret Sauce for Distributed Teams. A good time was had by all, particularly at the dinner after the Agile meeting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

World's Best Product Owner: Evil Genius Steve Jobs

A lot of people confuse product vision with strategy vision for the company. Product vision has to do with crafting a product that is so cool that when people see it they don't understand how they ever lived without it. Most senior management teams have no product vision although for some companies like Apple, and several of OpenView Venture Partners startups, the CEO or the CTO is the product visionary.

Levy's article on the birth of the iPod shows how Steve Jobs hovered over every aspect of the iPod during its creation. He added features, removed features, ordered features, committed to the final dates, and showed up to evangelize the product when it was announced. This is what a Chief Product Owner should do and precious few companies have a good Chief Product Owner.

In my Scrum training, I refer to this article as one that aspiring Product Owners should read. So here is a link so everyone can find it. Product Owner Lesson #1.

The Perfect Thing

Five years ago, Apple engineers used foam core and old fishing weights to craft a model of a new MP3 player. The age of the iPod was about to begin.
By Steven Levy - Wired Magazine 14.11 Nov 2006

In mid-October 2001, I received an invitation to one of Steve Jobs' carefully choreographed, exquisitely casual shows. It was to be held at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, on October 23. The most interesting thing about the invitation was the teasing addendum: "Hint: It's not a Mac." Usually, I would have hopped on a plane to see the latest wrinkle in the consistently fascinating saga of Jobs. His return to Apple was a great business story in itself, but what was novel about his whole career was its unapologetic and unprecedented grafting of 1960s values – everything from rock and roll to cracker-barrel Buddhism – into the corporate world. Jobs was a great salesman, a guy who out-suited the suits when it came to mastering the pulleys and levers of global high tech product development and manufacturing, a chief executive of two companies traded on the Nasdaq (Apple and Pixar Entertainment). But I'd also seen him stroll into his boardroom wearing scissor-cut shorts almost up to his balls and a pair of flip-flops. All of this – the austere authority of a Zen poet, the playfulness of Mick Jagger, and the showmanship of David Copperfield – would be on display at this event. And if history was any guide, the product he unveiled would be worth writing about.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Agile Contracts: Money for Nothing and Your Change for Free

We have a team working on an Open Source Agile Contract. You can participate in the Open Plans Agile Contract Project. The following general principles are agreed upon.


We mutually agree on working together, and thereby build trust in each others expertise.

Customer Participation in Scrum Team:
The Customer is expected to be active in the project. The role of the Customer includes the following:

1. Prioritize features by business value and have them implemented in order of maximum value
2. Mutually agreed estimates for all work items. The official representatives of both parties need to agree. This needs to be noted in a signed addendum to the contract for each change.
3. Participate in each Sprint planning meeting by discussing the selected features with Company team, including answering questions to provide clarification to the team.
4. Participate in writing the conditions of satisfaction for each feature, so the team and client have a shared definition of when a feature is done. These conditions should be completed as part of a user story before any code is written.
5. Participate in each Sprint review meeting, and provide timely feedback both for both work-in-progress and completed work.

***To company: Things to ensure are defined in the contract:

* Total value of the contract
* Rates for time and materials billing
* Scope of the contract

Clause: Early Termination (Money for Nothing)
The Customer may terminate the contract at the end of any Sprint. The standard metric for termination is when the Customer perceives the cost of continuing the project is higher than the additional value received. The Customer will pay Company 20% of the remaining contract value to exercise early termination.

Company commits to delivering 80% of the project scope as high quality by the agreed upon delivery date. High quality is defined by the agreed upon Definition of Done.

This clause can only be enacted if the Customer maintains Participation in the Team Scrum during the project.

In the event that both parties cannot mutually agree on work item estimates or that the Customer does not maintain participation in the Scrum Team, the contract shall revert to a time and materials billing.
Clause: Change For Free
If the Customer maintains Participation in Scrum Team during the entire project, Customer shall be able to make changes to the Scope without incurring any additional cost if total Scope of contracted work is not changed. New features may be added for free at Sprint boundaries if items of equal scope are removed from the contract.
Guarantee of Work

Jens Ostergaard: 80% of the functionality of high quality is guaranteed at the fixed price. The 80% of high quality means that you deliver according to your definition of DONE (which is an agreement between customer and supplier on a feature level).

Jeff Sutherland: Vendor assumes the risk of late delivery.
Jens: As to sharing the risk, if you have a confident team who have done this several times you could do what Jeff says. I would however be cautious starting this with a new company, and have some kind of risk sharing. Remember we are in this together and do the best we can. Customer knows what they want built, supplier knows how to get there, and both parties need to recognize that we have to work together.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jeff Sutherland's Scrum Certification Courses

Sign up here for next course. Other courses below.
Scrum Certification New York
18-19 Dec 2008

Scrum Certification Seattle
12-13 Jan 2009

Scrum Certification San Francisco 15-16 Jan 2009

Scrum Certification Boston 20-21 Jan 2009

Scrum Certification Beverly Hills 16-17 Feb 2009

Jeff Sutherland started the first Scrum at Easel Corporation in 1993. He worked with Ken Schwaber to emerge Scrum as a formal process at OOPSLA ’95. Together, they extended and enhanced Scrum at many software companies and IT organizations and helped write the Agile Manifesto.

Jeff is the CEO of Scrum, Inc. powered by OpenView Venture Partners and Agile coach to the OpenView venture group which runs all its internal operations with Scrum, as well as their portolio of software companies. As Senior Advisor to OpenView he focuses on using Scrum to transform companies as well as empower software developers. In his last position as CTO of PatientKeeper, his Scrum implementation was the key to quadrupled revenue in 2007. OpenView is using Scrum to create similar high performance portfolio companies. Jeff will share the secret sauce that helps development teams radically improve productivity and quality while providing a more rewarding and fun working environment for developers.

Jeff spends one week a month working directly with development teams in OpenView portfolio companies. This gives him continuous hands on experience in implementing Scrum and helping to improve engineering practices. The other three weeks a month he does consulting and training for companies worldwide. As Chairman of the Scrum Training Institute he leads one of the largest global Scrum training organizations.

You can learn from Dr. Sutherland's experience as consultant to the world's leading companies. Their experience can help make your Scrum implementation world class. Jeff's clients include: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, MySpace, Adobe, GE, Siemens, BellSouth, GSI Commerce, Ulticom, Palm, St. Jude Medical, DigiChart, RosettaStone, Healthwise, Sony/Ericson, Accenture, Trifork, Systematic Software Engineering, Exigen Services, SirsiDynix, Softhouse, Philips, Barclays Global Investors, Constant Contact, Wellogic, Inova Solutions, Medco, Saxo Bank, Xebia,, SolutionsIQ, Crisp, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Motley Fool, Planon, OpenView Venture Partners, Jyske Bank, BEC, Camp Scrum, DotWay AB, Ultimate Software, Danube, Rally Development, Version One, Scrum Training Institute, AtTask, Intronis, Version One, OpenView Labs, Central Desktop, Open-E, Zmags, eEye, Reality Digital, DST, Booz Allen Hamilton, and many other companies.

Jeff is an expert on distributed/outsourced Scrum (see Agile 2008) and on implementing Scrum in a CMMI Level 5 company. As CTO/VP of Engineering of nine software companies, he has created, scaled and distributed Scrum using his companies as laboratories for continuous process improvement. His last company, PatientKeeper is run by a MetaScrum, and is one of the most advanced implementations of Scrum worldwide. Mary Poppendieck, in her latest book on Lean Software Development, comments:

"Five years ago a killer application emerged in the health care industry: Give doctors access to patient information on a PDA. Today there is no question which company won the race to dominate this exploding market; PatientKeeper has overwhelmed its competition with its capability to bring new products and features to market just about every week. The sixty or so technical people produce more software than many organizations several times larger, and they do not show any sign that the size of their code base is slowing them down.

"A key strategy that has kept PatientKeeper at the front of the pack is an emphasis on unprecedented speed in delivering new features. It will not surprise anyone who understands Lean that PatientKeeper has to maintain superb quality in order to support its rapid delivery. CTO Jeff Sutherland explains it this way:

“Rapid cycle time:
  • Increases learning tremendously
  • Eliminates buggy software because you die if you don't fix this.
  • Fixes the install process because you die if you have to install 45 releases this year and install is not easy.
  • Improves the upgrade process because there is a constant flow of upgrades that are mandatory. Makes upgrades easy.
  • Forces quick standardization of software via new features rather than customization and one off.
  • Forces implementation of sustainable pace. You die a death of attrition without it.
  • Allows waiting to build new functionality until there are 4-5 customers who pay for it. This is counterintuitive, and caused by the fact everything is ready within 90 days.”

"I find that the vast majority of organizations are still trying to do too much stuff, and thus find themselves thrashing. The only organization I know of which has really solved this is PatientKeeper." Mary Poppendieck

In Jeff's courses, participants learn how to stop thrashing and improve performance along with everything necessary for getting started with Scrum. There are very few rules to Scrum so it is important to learn its fundamental principles by experiencing them directly from those who have implemented the best Scrums in the software industry. Participants gain hands-on practice with the release backlog, sprint backlog, the daily Scrum meeting, tracking progress with a burndown chart, and more. Participants experience the Scrum process through a “59-minute Scrum” and the "XP Game” which simulate Scrum projects through non-technical group exercises.

Dr. Sutherland's training is helpful to every employee in a Scrum company. Most of his Openview portfolio companies use Scrum in sales, marketing, finance, or in the senior management team, so you will often see these people in his classes. Every developer can benefit by getting a thorough grounding in Scrum basics. Some of Jeff's companies send every employee, including adminstrative assistants to his courses. These companies always experience radical growth and profitability when everyone in on the same page with the Scrum process. In addition, many Certified ScrumMasters use his courses as a refresher as they often contain advanced material depending on who is in the class. CSMs and CSPs may attend his training at reduced rates.

See all Scrum Certification courses in the Scrum Alliance Course Listing or sign up below.

Scrum in Europe

Scrum Certification Aarhus 10-11 Nov 2008

Scrum Certification Amsterdam 13-14 Nov 2008

Scrum Certification Oredev 17-18 Nov 2008
Malmo, Sweden

Scrum Certification Copenhagen 20-21 Nov 2008
Scrum Training Institute

Scrum Certification Paris 1-2 Dec 2008
Xebia, La Defense - taught in English
Great location - spend the weekend in Paris!

Agile 201: Winning with Scrum Oslo 8-9 Dec 2008
Program Utvikling

Scrum Certification Oslo 11-12 Dec 2008
Program Utvikling

Scrum Certification Helsinki 15-16 Dec 2008
Scrum Training Institute


Scrum Gathering Stockholm: Pretty Good Scrum

Yesterday, I gave the keynote presentation at the Scrum Gathering - Pretty Good Scrum: Secret Sauce for Distributed Teams. Ken Schwaber, Scrum Alliance leadership, and a packed house are all here. It is raining off and on in Stockholm so the weather is not great but the spirit is high.

I'll be doing a Certified ScrumMaster training with Henrik Kniberg on Thursday and Friday. You can still sign up for the course!

I'm beginning to incorporate learnings from OpenView Venture Partners portfolio companies. I meet with many of the companies once a month to review progress on their impediment backlog for improving their Scrum implementation. They will aggressively try new things and report back the next month on what happened, making them an excellent laboratory for validating and improving the Scrum experience.

OpenView Venture Partners runs all of their internal operations with Scrum teams so when our senior partners attend board meetings of the companies, they can thoughtfully examine the state of each Scrum implementation. They are mainly concerned about senior management understanding the velocity of their teams so their release plans make sense. And they want to know how many impediments the management removed since the last board meeting to help the teams increase velocity while simultaneously improving quality.