Dr. Jeff Sutherland is one of the inventors of the Scrum software development process. Together with Ken Schwaber, he created Scrum as a formal process at OOPSLA'95. Sutherland helped to write the Agile Manifesto in 2001. He is a writer of The Scrum Guide.
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Sutherland is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a Top Gun of his USAF RF-4C Aircraft Commander class. He flew more than one hundred missions over North Vietnam. After 11 years in the military he became a doctor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Here he got involved in data collection and IT systems development.
Scrum is a framework for enabling business agility at scale across an entire organization. Well known for its application to software development, it is now used in other domains at GE, 3M, Toyota, Mearsk, British Petroleum, Tesla, and other leading companies. A meeting which was strongly influenced by the founders of Scrum created the Agile Manifesto. Sutherland is quoted as saying the "systems development process is an unpredictable and complicated process that can only roughly be described as an overall progression".
The agile approach was developed by Sutherland, John Scumniotales and Jeff McKenna while at Easel Corporation. The principle was based on a 1986 article by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the Harvard Business Review, and incorporates practices from a draft study published in Dr. Dobb's Journal. It involves 30-day cycles of plan, build and monitor sprints. The name Scrum was chosen in reference to the rugby scrummage, as the system involves "a cross-functional team" who "huddle together to create a prioritized list". Scrum has been used by several major corporations. Sutherland has claimed that distributed teams coached to use the system can make large productivity increases against the industry average.
Scrum involves a cross-functional team creating a list to work on. The team consists of three roles, the Product Owner, the Team and the Scrum Master, who each have specific tasks. The team then works through three phases - a pre-sprint planning, the sprint and then a post-sprint meeting. The group has daily meetings and keeps a Product Backlog. In contributing to the book The Secrets of Happy Families, Sutherland modified the Agile approach to family interactions.
Sutherland has been quoted as saying the three distinguishing factors between Scrum teams and normal teams are self-management, continuity of team membership, and dedication to a single project. Clarification of user needs is an essential component. Sutherland said no coding should occur while user needs were in doubt, and is quoted as saying "It is better for the developers to be surfing than writing code that won't be needed". Sutherland has also been quoted as saying that Scrum should run with software architecture.
In 1995, Sutherland and Schwaber jointly presented a paper describing the Scrum methodology at the Business Object Design and Implementation Workshop held as part of Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications '95 (OOPSLA '95) in Austin, Texas, its first public presentation.
In the book Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, it was noted that the Scrum system as originally developed by Sutherland had testing and engineering components which were removed to make the system easier. This decision was criticized, as "without them the quality of your code will degrade", and future change becomes more difficult.
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