ScrumAlliance ™

by Jeff Langr

April 30, 2009

On the scrumdevelopment Yahoo! group, a discussion revolves around user group concerns over the trademarking of the phrase “Sc*um User Group.” (Note that I’ve starred the name in order to avoid trademark violations.) A few inquiries resulted in an official response from a Sc*umAlliance representative.

I find it odd that (a) no one belonging to the “Sc*umAlliance” (whoever they really are–I’m suspecting maybe Mars, but given their legal nature, maybe Uranus) frequents the scrumdevelopment group, (b) none of them chose to respond directly on the group once apprised of the concerns, and (c) Ken Schwaber didn’t have an immediate answer (regardless of his affiliation with the Sc*umAlliance). I suppose there must be people (lawyers, no doubt) who don’t have to be at all interested in the product they support, but it just seems wrong somehow.

Agile requires lots of communication and continual negotiation. Bits of command and control have their value at times, but in most cases C&C begins to eat away at the trust relationship required for continual negotiation. I suggest people considering or doing Sc*um dispense with the trappings of a trademarked process and look instead to understanding what agile is really about.

The progenitors of agile–i.e. the agile manifesto signatories–rightly eschewed “heavyweight” processes–processes centered around lots of documentation and meetings. I think there’s a new category of “heavy” that should be spurned, and that includes processes controlled by people so heavily wrapped up in legal and licensing protections that they can’t bother discussing changes with the community who would be affected.

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Jeff Langr

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Jeff Langr has been building software for 40 years and writing about it heavily for 20. You can find out more about Jeff, learn from the many helpful articles and books he's written, or read one of his 1000+ combined blog (including Agile in a Flash) and public posts.