A list of Scrum Articles, Guides and books that have defined Scrum

Scrum then and now, part 4 — 2nd iteration

Willem-Jan Ageling
Feb 3 · 5 min read

Scrum has been around for years. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber presented it to the world at OOPSLA in 1995. They based it on “The New New Product Development Game“ (1986) by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Many things have remained the same since then, 1995. Other things have evolved. With this series I aim to show you how radically Scrum has changed over the years. Through this I wish to achieve transparency on why certain ideas about Scrum materialised and help raise understanding on the current Scrum definition.

This article aims to give an overview of material that has given a presentation of Scrum through the years. If you know of additional material that is important to be mentioned as well, please let me know. I might decide to add it to the article. This is the 2nd iteration of the article in which I incorporated feedback from Brad Appleton.

By Paddy Corry

The New New Product Development Game

Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka introduced the term “Scrum” in their 1986 Harvard Business Review article. With “introduce” I mean they used the word for the first time in the context of Product Development:

“Moving the Scrum Downfield” — The New New Product Development Game

The article is referring to the game of Rugby. The term Scrum is used once.

“Companies are increasingly realizing that the old, sequential approach to developing new products simply won’t get the job done. Instead, companies in Japan and the United States are using a holistic method — as in rugby, the ball gets passed within the team as it moves as a unit up the field.” — The New New Product Development Game

OOPSLA paper

The next important document is the OOPSLA paper, which was presented at the OOPSLA 1995. OOPSLA stands for Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications. OOPSLA 1995 was where Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber introduced their adaptation of Scrum as they had used it since the early nineties. Many consider this event to be the place were Scrum was born.

SCRUM: An extension pattern language for hyperproductive software development

In 1998 Mike Beedle, Martine Devos, Yonat Sharon, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber published SCRUM: An extension pattern language for hyperproductive software development. “This 1998 paper was deemed the first to describe Scrum as a set of (named) practices (not just roles, artifacts and ceremonies/events)” — Brad Appleton. The Scrum Master has it’s first mention, as team leader and remover of “blocks”.

Agile Manifesto

The Manifesto for Agile Software development has to be part of this list. Scrum influenced this manifesto and the manifesto influenced Scrum. One key example is that Scrum introduced a new event in the years to come: the Retrospective:

“At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” — Principle of Manifesto for Agile Software development

Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Mike Beedle were amongst the 17 creators of the Agile Manifesto.

First Scrum Book 2001

In 2001 Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle published the book “Agile Software Development with Scrum”. This book is very descriptive about numerous Scrum practices, notably the role of the Scrum Master.

2003 article — What is Scrum?

The Scrum 2003 paper from Ken Schwaber can be considered as a next increment of the Scrum definition and introduces the Product Owner.

Agile Project Management with Scrum 2004

This book reads as a ‘how to use Scrum’, but it also explain the theory, the skeleton, the heart, the roles, the flow, and the artifacts of Scrum as is was defined in 2004.

User Stories Applied 2004

In 2004 Mike Cohn published his book ‘User Stories Applied’. While this book is first and foremost a guide on how to work with User Stories in an Agile environment it also spends a chapter to explain Scrum. Mike Cohn specifically mentions that the 2001 book “Agile Software Development with Scrum” presents the complete picture. Still this book deserves a place in the timeline because it was highly influential and it explains why User Stories and Planning Poker are so often used within Scrum.

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development using Scrum

In 2009 Mike Cohn published the book “Succeeding with Agile: Software Development using Scrum”. Mike Cohn deep-dives into the world of Scrum, using the 2001 book “Agile Software Development with Scrum” and the 2003 paper from Ken Schwaber as references and the source of truth. However also this book has been highly influential and as a result pivotal in the adoption of Scrum.

First Scrum Guide 2010

The first Scrum Guide was published in 2010. The most recent version of the Scrum Guide, created by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber, has been the single source of truth about Scrum ever since.

Below is a link to a page where you can find all 6 versions of the Scrum Guide.

Scrum Guide revisions

Another useful link is the one to the Scrum Guide revisions. It gives a complete overview of all changes in the Scrum Guide from the first version to the last version.

Current Scrum Guide

The on-line version of the current Scrum Guide is here:

Scrum Guide improvement suggestions

Scrum evolves. This much is clear. There will be future changes. Anyone can suggest changes to the Scrum Guide. Below is where you can drop your ideas. It doesn’t mean that the ideas will make it into the Scrum Guide. This in the end is up to Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.

Thanks to Brad Appleton and Paddy Corry for their input.


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Thanks to Paddy Corry

Willem-Jan Ageling

Written by

Interested in ways to work better together. I love the discussion with open-minded people.

Serious Scrum

Content by and for serious scrum practitioners.

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