Video: Agile and Scrum Tuning by Jeff Sutherland

Scrum video presentation from Jeff Sutherland (speech from December 2006 but highly relevant). The presentation is really packet with great quotes and inspiration. I wonder if I ever will be motivated to work in traditional big waterfall projects again…

Scrum Tuning: Lessons learned from Scrum implementation at Google

Working software is really the only measure of progress.

It used to be only about 40% of requirements change in the average project in the industry. But in the 2003 report from Stanford that number moved up to between 60 and 65% of requirements change during a project. Google knows this, but some people are still trying to make a plan and then they create a change control group, which is the kiss of death for successful projects these days.

When Rosing started at Google in 2001, “we had management in engineering. And the structure was tending to tell people, No, You can’t do that”. So Google got rid of the managers. Now most engineers work in teams of three, with project leadership rotating among team members. If something isn’t right, even if it’s in a product that has already gone public, teams fix it without asking anyone. (agile principle #5)

“For a while,” Rosing says, “I had 160 direct reports. No managers. It worked because the teams knew what they had to do. That set a cultural bit in people’s heads: You are the boss. Don’t wait to take the hill. Don’t wait to be managed”

And if you fail, fine. On to the next idea. “There’s faith here in the ability of smart, well-motivated people to do the right thing,” Rosing says. “Anything that gets in the way of that is evil”.

(fast company, April 2003)


Other companies don’t have any body in charge — it’s just organic. Maybe it’s where Google and yahoo started… what they found was that didn’t scale.

So yahoo went out and hired some consultants who gave them a big heavy weight process and 300 page specifications.

And when i got there a year or two ago and they said they really hate this. And when they learned about agile and particularly scrum, they said:

“SCRUM will allow us to go back to our organic roots and work in small teams in the same way.

But give us the kind structure that Toyota has where people are empowered but there is a structure there that allows scalability.”

What we see is that scrum is really infinitely scalable. […] It’s actually linearly scalable. IE if you double the number of people you actually double the output of software. It’s the only process that has actually documented this with good data.

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One Response to “Video: Agile and Scrum Tuning by Jeff Sutherland”

  1. Tobias Says:

    Another great video about Scrum et al. from Googles tech talks, but by Ken Schwaber: