Thursday, March 24, 2005

Scrum Godfathers: Takeuchi and Nonaka


Takeuchi and Nonaka are Godfathers of the Scrum Agile Process since they coined the term in their seminal paper in the Harvard Business Review in 1986:

Takeuchi, H. and I. Nonaka, The New New Product Development Game. Harvard Business Review, 1986(January-February).

The both got their doctoral degrees at University of California, Berkeley, and were well suited to analyze the combined best practices of east and west. One went on to the faculty of Harvard Business School, the other back to Japan. In recent years, they have both helped establish the Hitotsubashi Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, the Japanese answer to a better business school.

Their thinking has been updated and extended in a new book that will be useful reading for ScrumMasters. The concepts from the 1986 Harvard Business Review paper are there along with a lot more useful information. Highly recommended.

Takeuchi, H. and I. Nonaka, Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management. 2004, Singapore: John Wiley & Sons (Asia).

Friday, March 11, 2005

Scrum Evolution: Type A, B, and C Sprints


Figure 1: Type A, B, and C strategies for delivering product [1].

One of the key influences that led to creation of the first Scrum was a paper on the Japanese way of new product development by Takeuchi and Nonaka [2]. This paper had a chart showing product development separated into silo’s (Type A), phases slightly overlapped (Type B), and all phases of development overlapping (Type C). Type A, the Japanese viewed as an outmoded relay race type of process. Type C they envisioned as Scrum where all phases of product development were overlapping. One can reinterpret this diagram at a higher level and think of it as applying to different types of Scrum execution. A Type A Scrum does all work on a Sprint within the timebox of the Sprint, which results in downtime when reorganizing for the next Sprint. By adding product definition tasks for the next Sprint into the current Sprint, a Type B Sprint allows work to flow smoothly from Sprint to Sprint. A Type C Sprint, often called Continuous Sprint, runs multiple overlapping Sprints through the same Scrum teams.

1. Takeuchi, H. and I. Nonaka, Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management. 2004, Singapore: John Wiley & Sons (Asia).

2. Takeuchi, H. and I. Nonaka, The New New Product Development Game. Harvard Business Review, 1986(January-February).