The Scrum methodology of agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. In fact, Scrum and other agile processes were inspired by its shortcomings. The Scrum methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration, functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities — all attributes that suffer in the rigidly ordered waterfall paradigm.
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As discussed here previously, the Scrum Alliance plays an important role in helping to preserve the Scrum framework through its certification process. Because it has standardized the experience required for various “certified” positions in Scrum, the terminology used to describe Scrum, and, of course, the framework itself, the Alliance has armed thousands of software professionals with the practical knowledge they need to advance in a career in Scrum. I’ve always considered their work to be obviously valuable for individuals seeking training, but also an important reason why Scrum has flourished in recent years.
But I just saw this peculiar story on InfoQ: http://www.infoq.com/news/2009/04/scrum-alliance-user-group According to the post, Scrum user groups—informal groups in which Scrum users get together to share best practices and other strategies—have been receiving notifications that the Scrum Alliance now lays claim to the term “Scrum users group.” What this means for the many users groups that have been contacted in the last month is still fairly unclear. Many groups have reported that the Alliance simply asked them to sign a licensing agreement and branding image. A statement from the Scrum Alliance’s managing director Jim Cundiff explained that user groups must sign the agreement only if they’d like to use the Scrum Alliance’s name and logo. Cundiff also goes on to say that there are no fees associated with using the Scrum Alliance’s name or logo.
So what do you make of this? Is this just another step toward standardizing Scrum, as the Alliance would have some degree of involvement in the branding (and perhaps more) of the group? Or is the Alliance overstepping its bounds, attempting to build publicity for its brand through these grass-roots groups? Do the groups have that much to gain from an affiliation with the Alliance? Some of you may know more about this than I do, in which case please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
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