Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber conceived the Scrum process in the early 90’s. They codified Scrum in 1995 in order to present it at the Oopsla conference in Austin, Texas (US) and published the paper “SCRUM Software Development Process”.
Ken and Jeff inherited the name ‘Scrum’ from the 1986 groundbreaking paper ‘The New New Product Development Game’ by Takeuchi and Nonaka, two acknowledged management thinkers. With the term ‘Scrum’ Nonaka and Takeuchi referred to the game of rugby to stress the importance of teams and some analogies between a team sport like rugby and being successful in the game of new product development. The research described in their paper showed that outstanding performance in the development of new, complex products is achieved when teams, as small and self-organizing units of people, are fed with objectives, not with tasks. The best teams are those that are given direction within which they have room to devise their own tactics on how to best head towards their joint objective. Teams require autonomy to achieve excellence.
The Scrum framework for software development implements the principles described in this paper for developing and sustaining complex software products.
While in the process of developing and using early versions of Scrum, Ken asked Professor Babatunde A. Ogunnaike Tunde, a famous process control research engineer, to look at software development processes. Tunde investigated several commercial software-development methodologies to conclude that the waterfall and predictive process is not a good fit for the work of software development. He confirmed the empirical approach of Scrum to be the preferred process.
Empiricism is used for complex work where more is unknown than is known and predictions have little value given a high rate of change and uncertainty.
Scrum was first tried and refined at Individual, Inc., Fidelity Investments, and IDX (now GE Medical).
In February 2001, Jeff and Ken were amongst the 17 software development leaders creating the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
Following the Agile Manifesto, the Agile Alliance was founded with Ken Schwaber being its first chairman.
In 2001, much inspired by Kent Beck, Ken Schwaber co-authored the first book on Scrum with Mike Beedle, Agile Software Development with Scrum.
In 2002, Ken Schwaber founded the Scrum Alliance with Mike Cohn and Esther Derby, with Ken chairing the organization. In the years to follow the highly successful Certified ScrumMaster programs and its derivatives were created and launched.
In 2006, Jeff Sutherland created his own company, Scrum.inc, while continuing to offer and teach the Certified Scrum courses.
Ken left the Scrum Alliance in the fall of 2009, and founded Scrum.org to further improve the quality and effectiveness of Scrum, mainly through the Professional Scrum series.
With the first publication of the Scrum Guide in 2010, and its incremental updates in 2011 and 2013, Jeff and Ken established the globally recognized body of knowledge of Scrum.
Ever since its first publication in 1995 up to now, Scrum has been adopted by a vast amount of software development companies around the world. It is today recognized as the most applied framework for agile software development. More than 1000 books have been published on Scrum.
The method however has also been successfully applied in other domains, e.g. manufacturing, marketing, operations and education.
With their continual work at their respective companies Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland relentlessly keep setting the vision for success with Scrum.