Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Scrum Was Made: Kenji Hiranabe

Why and how you made Scrum – Interview with Jeff Sutherland by Kenji Hiranabe

Boston where Scrum Inc. based-in
Kenji: I visited scruminc. in Boston last September. Unfortunately, Jeff was out in Zurich at the time, but he arranged time (in his hotel room at midnight) for me via Skype with the help of Laura Althoff at scruminc. I’d like to share the interview here.

Kenji: Thank you very much for meeting me, unfortunately via skype. I missed the meeting arrangement last week and you tried to pick me up at the hotel, sorry I mistook the meeting schedule completely one week off !
Jeff: No problem. You did miss a drive in my Tesla Roadster.
Kenji: Oh, no I missed a big one… OK, let me start with this question. First of all, why did you started scrum ? What was the main motivation that drove you?
Jeff: I was first inspired by what Accion was doing in their banking business. “Accion” is a micro financing bank, like “Grameen” Bank in Bangledesh founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus. They loan a little bit of money to a team of poor individuals running small businesses. The money might be used to buy a fruit cart to sell things in the town square or a sewing machine to develop a clothing business. Initially, buying enough food to eat may be the primary goal of developing a small business. After that, clothes are important to the poor because without clothes, their kids they cannot go to school. The loan of a small amount of money to people helps to bootstrap them out of poverty. Give a team of people a little bit and they can change their life dramatically. As I worked in my spare time on the President’s Council of Accion, I noticed in my day job that software developers had similar problems to poor people in South America. They had enough money but they never had enough software. They were almost always late in delivery and the quality was poor. As a result they were under constant pressure from management and felt like they were second class citizens. This was the first awareness that made me try to make a new way of creating software in a better way.
Kenji is finishing up a book with Ikojiru Nonaka, fondly called the grandfather of Scrum by the Japanese. This interview will be part of his forthcoming book.

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