History Of Scrum

Scrum was first implemented in 1993 by Jeff Sutherland and others at the Easel Corporation.

They drew concepts from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article “The New New Product Development Game” (1986). The article describes how companies including Honda, Canon, and Fuji-Xerox had generated superior results using a scalable, team-based technique in product development.

Self-organising, cross-functional teams were empowered to work towards achieving goals. Although the examples cited in the article were outside of software, they served as inspiration for those building software to experiment with the same concepts to see whether they could help in similar ways in this different domain.

Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland worked on Scrum until 1995 when they co-presented Scrum at the OOPSLA Conference. This presentation essentially documented the learning that Ken and Jeff gained over the previous few years, and made public the first formal definition of Scrum.

In the years following the presentation of Scrum at the OOPSLA Conference, many people began to adopt and use Scrum. As the volume of people using it increased, so did a level of confusion about what Scrum actually was.

As a result, Ken and Jeff collaborated to produce the Scrum Guide and the first version was released in 2010. The Scrum Guide documents Scrum as developed, evolved, and sustained for 20-plus years by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.

Millions of people around the world now use Scrum to develop products & services and the usage of Scrum continues to grow rapidly.

The most recent major trend has seen Scrum grow beyond its software development origins. In my public Scrum training courses, it is now common for up to 50% of the people to come with interests beyond software including, but not limited to Pharmaceuticals, Construction, HR, and Marketing.

The world is becoming an ever more complex place and more people are turning to Scrum as an approach to help them control complex work and deliver value.

The latest update to the Scrum Guide in November 2020 reflected this trend by seeking to simplify Scrum for people outside of software. Language tying Scrum to I.T. was removed. Others concepts were simplified and many practices removed in order to make Scrum even more of a framework than ever before.