October 2, 2015

Why I joined Scrum.org

And you do the cokey cokeyMany years ago I was told to be successful you have to have a personnel mission, a clear, short statement that says what you are all about. And mine is ‘to help people deliver software just a little bit better’. Actually this mission has changed from its inception with the addition of the words ‘just a little bit’, after I realized how hard building software is, :-). That mission has taken me to Rational Software to Ivar Jacobson International, to Forrester, Tasktop and now Scrum.org. Each company I have worked with focused on some aspect of software delivery and how to improve it. And each company I learnt a little bit more about software delivery.

So, why Scrum.org now ?

In a word, skills. Throughout my journey I have seen numerous companies building software in many different forms for many different business opportunities. Each of those companies were using different processes, different tools on different technology platforms. In fact at Tasktop, where I continue to be a company advisor, I learnt that companies will be using 100s of tools, each of them differently configured and used in a different way. But for everything that was different there was one thing that was the same. The successful teams had well disciplined, skilled people who had a passion for their craft. Not a surprise, but what was a surprise was those people were not always born great software developers. Many of them actually built those skills over time and had a very strong desire to learn. They wanted to be professional software developers, building great software products that delivered value to their business. Software was not a job, it was a vocation. But that was not true for the industry. Steve McConnell wrote in his well titled book ‘Professional Software Development:’

There is a wide gulf between the average practice and the best, and many of the practices in widespread use are seriously outdated and underpowered.

In a nutshell the Execution of the practice of software delivery is fundamentally less capable than it should be. Not that software development teams are not smart, or highly skilled at their craft, or that they are not motivated to be better, but the day to day ‘death march’ of project work has lead them away from their profession.

And this brings me to Scrum.org. Scrum.org has a simple mission – to improve the profession of software development – which sounds very similar to my personnel mission. At the heart of scrum.org is Scrum – a light weight framework that help teams – and now with Nexus – teams of teams to deliver software in a more effective way. The focus of Scrum.org is improving the profession by providing a yard stick for what works when building great software. Training materials, certification and assessments are products that Scrum.org provides to the industry to support that mission. Add to that a vibrant community of professional trainers – who are driving not only delivery of the content, but improving that content, and you have an organization that strives to raise the skill level of the software development industry. And from that comes great software which will change the world!

Joining Scrum.org provides me with the ability to help to contribute to improving the skills of practitioners. Scrum has done an amazing job of raising the bar, but there is more work to do and I am honored to work with Ken Schwaber, the team at scrum.org and the Professional Scrum trainer community to drive towards our shared mission of improving the profession of software development.

To quote another bald guy ‘scrum on’…

Dave