Jeff Sutherland

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Jeff Sutherland
Born (1941-06-20) June 20, 1941 (age 82)
Alma materUnited States Military Academy (B.S.)
Stanford University (M.S.)
University of Colorado School of Medicine (PhD)
OccupationProject manager
Known forCreating Scrum method

Jeff Sutherland (born June 20, 1941) is one of the creators of Scrum, a framework for product management.[1] Together with Ken Schwaber, he presented Scrum at OOPSLA'95. Sutherland contributed to the creation of the Agile Manifesto in 2001. Along with Ken Schwaber, he wrote and maintains The Scrum Guide, which contains the official definition of the framework.[1]

Early career[edit]

Sutherland is a graduate of the United States Military Academy.[2] In 1967 he deployed with the United States Air Force to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base to fly reconnaissance flights in a RF-4C Phantom.[3]

After returning from the Vietnam war, Sutherland earned a master's degree in statistics from Stanford University. He then became a professor of mathematics at the United States Air Force Academy.[3] Sutherland earned a doctorate in biometrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.[4]

Project management career[edit]

Jointly with Yosi Amram, Sutherland developed NewsPage at, one of the first publishers of news on the internet. The news engine used a lexical parsing system.[5]

Scrum is a framework for enabling business agility at scale across an entire organization.[3] A meeting which was influenced by the Agile Manifesto.[6] Sutherland is quoted as saying the "systems development process is an unpredictable and complicated process that can only roughly be described as an overall progression".[7]

The scrum process was developed by Sutherland, John Scumniotales and Jeff McKenna while at Easel Corporation and influenced by agile software development. The principle was based on a 1986 article by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the Harvard Business Review,[8] and incorporates practices from a draft study published in Dr. Dobb's Journal.[9] It involves 30-day cycles of plan, build and monitor sprints.[10] The name Scrum was chosen in reference to the rugby scrummage,[10] as the system involves "a cross-functional team" who "huddle together to create a prioritized list".[11] Scrum has been used by several major corporations.[12] Sutherland has claimed that distributed teams coached to use the system can make large productivity increases against the industry average.[13]

Scrum Framework[edit]

Scrum involves a cross-functional team creating a list to work on.[11] The team consists of three specific roles, the Product Owner, the Developers and the Scrum Master.[12] The team then works through three phases: a pre-sprint planning, the sprint and then a post-sprint meeting.[14] The group has daily meetings and keeps a Product Backlog.[15] In contributing to the book The Secrets of Happy Families, Sutherland modified the Agile approach to family interactions.[16]

Sutherland has been quoted as saying the three distinguishing factors between Scrum teams and normal teams are self-management, continuity of team membership, and dedication to a single project.[17] Clarification of user needs is an essential component. Sutherland said no coding should occur while user needs were in doubt, and is quoted as saying "It is better for the developers to be surfing than writing code that won't be needed".[18] Sutherland has also been quoted as saying that Scrum should run with software architecture.[9]

Sutherland is the founder and principal consultant at Scrum, Inc in Boston, Massachusetts, currently led by his son, JJ Sutherland as the CEO.[19] Additionally, he was appointed a senior advisor to OpenView Venture Partners 2007 for a short period in that year.[20]



  • Sutherland, Jeff; Schwaber, Ken (May 1, 2012). Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust (1st ed.). Wiley. p. 216. ISBN 978-1118206669.
  • Sutherland, Jeff; Sutherland, J.J. (September 30, 2014). Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time (1st ed.). Currency. p. 256. ISBN 9780385346450.
  • Sutherland, Jeff; Coplien, James (August 2019). A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game (1st ed.). Pragmatic Programmers. p. 572. ISBN 978-1118206669.

Selected articles[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sutherland, Jeff; Schwaber, Ken. "The Scrum Guide". Scrum Guides. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  2. ^ "West Point Association of Graduates". Retrieved 2020-08-26.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Sutherland, Jeff; Sutherland, J. J. (2014). Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780385346467.
  4. ^ Sutherland, Jeffrey V. (1980). The Multihit Model of Carcinogenesis and Its Application to Human Colon Cancer Incidence Data (PhD Thesis). Department of Biometrics, University of Colorado.
  5. ^ Schwaber, Ken (2009). Agile Project Management with Scrum. O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 9780735637900.
  6. ^ Pham, Andrew Thu (2012). Business-Driven IT-Wide Agile (Scrum) and Kanban (Lean) Implementation: An Action Guide for Business and IT Leaders. CRC Press. ISBN 9781466578562.
  7. ^ Zelkowitz, Marvin (2008). "History of Computers, Electronic Commerce". Advances in Computers: Emerging Technologies. 73: 32. ISBN 9780080880310.
  8. ^ Sims, Peter (2011). Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries. Random House. p. 85. ISBN 9781409038030.
  9. ^ a b Coplien, James O. (2011). Lean Architecture: for Agile Software Development. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470970133.
  10. ^ a b Armour, Phillip G. (2004). The Laws of Software Process: A New Model for the Production and Management of Software. CRC Press. p. 112. ISBN 9780203505649.
  11. ^ a b McQuarrie, Gray (2010). Change Your Dam Thinking. Bound Publishing. p. 133. ISBN 9780986723308.
  12. ^ a b Larman, Craig (2008). Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780321617149.
  13. ^ Woodward, Elizabeth (2010). A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780137061365.
  14. ^ Rico, David F. (2007). Effects of Agile Methods on Website Quality for Electronic Commerce. University of Maryland University College. ISBN 9780549764946.
  15. ^ Kroll, Per (2006). Agility and Discipline Made Easy: Practices from OpenUP and RUP. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780132702485.
  16. ^ Parrish, Shane (9 December 2013). "The secrets of happy families". The Week. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  17. ^ Viscardi, Stacia (2013). The Professional ScrumMaster's Handbook. Packt Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9781849688031.
  18. ^ Alan Shalloway; Guy Beaver; James R. Trott (2009). Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780321647993.
  19. ^ "About Us". Scrum Inc. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  20. ^ "Scrum Creator Sutherland Joins OpenView | OpenView Venture Partners". OpenView. 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2018-03-11.

External links[edit]