Succeeding with Agile - Mike Cohn's Blog

Scrum Alliance Vision Update

I was recently asked to write a brief summary of the vision of the Scrum Alliance for its monthly newsletter. That newsletter came out today so I thought I'd share the same thoughts with everyone here:

As part of the recent Scrum Gathering in Atlanta, the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors held an all-day, in-person meeting. I want to share with you the outcome of one of the key topics on our agenda, which was reviewing the current vision for the organization and considering any changes to it. Coming into that meeting, the vision was to provide meaningful certification, offer valuable memberships, expand Scrum's presence, and do so with operational excellence. These four keys to the direction of the organization had been established at a similar board meeting in September 2010.

As part of the recent meeting, we decided to alter this slightly. The revised vision for the organization is to provide Education, Community, and Advocacy to anyone interested in Scrum. Operational excellence will remain an underpinning of pursuing those three goals. The great thing about these three words is that I think each can stand alone in conveying what the Scrum Alliance exists to do. However, as we first introduce these words as our vision, each can benefit from some explanation.

By Education, we mean that the Scrum Alliance will strive to continue its reputation for being the best place to learn about Scrum, and indeed all things that help Scrum teams. That of course includes our certification programs, but education goes far beyond certification and includes web content, Gatherings, and programs like the Agile Atlas. We have always understood that certification is not a guarantee of success, and we are taking further, bigger steps toward providing education in a variety of forms that will help Scrum community members succeed much more frequently.

By Community, we mean that the Scrum Alliance will nurture and enrich the community of all those interested in Scrum. This extends into both the physical and virtual worlds. Our Scrum Gatherings will continue to be the primary place to meet in person to share with, learn from, and educate each other. If you've never been to a Gathering, get to one and I assure you that you will leave invigorated with an increased passion for doing what we do. Our online and virtual presences will expand in ways to help members reach and help each other.

By Advocacy, we mean the Scrum Alliance exists to advocate for the use of Scrum, for the value of education through the Scrum Alliance, and on behalf of our members or anyone using Scrum. We want to offer a job board where those who want to use Scrum can find opportunities to do so. We want to provide resources our members can use to become advocates for Scrum within their organizations.

The three words that embody this vision -- Education, Community, and Advocacy -- came to us from brainstorming sessions between Scrum Alliance staff and consultants , and we owe them for the phrasing's elegant simplicity. Although we weren't looking for an acronym, board member Harvey Wheaton pointed out that, when considered in reverse, these three words form the acronym ACE, which has certainly been helpful to me in remembering this vision -- even though I prefer the words in the opposite sequence.

I hope you'll join me, the rest of the Scrum Alliance board, our Managing Director Carol McEwan, the wonderful Scrum Alliance team, and the more than 100,000 people in our Scrum community to help achieve this vision.

About the Author

Mike Cohn is the founder of Mountain Goat Software, a process and project management consultancy that specializes in helping companies adopt and improve their use of Agile processes and techniques. He is the author of User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, Agile Estimating and Planning, and Succeeding with Agile. Mike is a co-founder of the Agile Alliance. He is also a co-founder and current board member of the Scrum Alliance. He can be reached at info@mountaingoatsoftware.com or connect with Mike on Google+.