Scrum: Where Did It Come From?

Laszlo Szalvay

Agile methods have boomed in influence and practice, as organizations of all sizes and types acknowledge that linear thinking won’t cut it in a complex business world. But what does it actually mean to be Agile? This three-part series explores the question, focusing on the most popular agile approach, Scrum.

Many would say the story of agile begins in 1995 when Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber presented a formalized Scrum process at the International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications. For others, the movements defining moment was the creation of the Agile Manifesto in February 2001, in which Sutherland, Schwaber, Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Jim Highsmith and Mike Beedle, among others, drafted a document that outlined the need for lightweight processes in modern software development. In essence, the Agile Manifesto served as a Declaration of Independence from the inflexibility of waterfall development.
 
With representatives of nascent agile methodologies on hand, including Extreme Programming, DSDM and Scrum, the group mapped out a paradigmatic shift in development that emphasized philosophy over concrete processes. That’s a critical distinction: Because agile practices mark such a dramatic departure from traditional, sequential models of development, teams and organizations must cultivate a deep understanding of …

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