Jeff Sutherland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jeff Sutherland

Dr. Jeff Sutherland is one of the creators of the Scrum software development process. Together with Ken Schwaber, he created Scrum as a set of processes at OOPSLA'95. Sutherland helped to write the Agile Manifesto in 2001. He is a writer of The Scrum Guide.

Military career[edit]

Sutherland is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a Top Gun of his USAF RF-4C Aircraft Commander class[citation needed]. He flew more than one hundred missions over North Vietnam[citation needed]. After 11 years in the military he became a doctor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine[citation needed]. Here he got involved in data collection and IT systems development.[1]

IT career[edit]


In conjunction 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.[2]

Scrum development[edit]

Scrum is a framework for enabling business agility at scale across an entire organization. Well known for its application to software development, it is now used in other domains at GE, 3M, Toyota, Maersk, British Petroleum, Tesla and other companies.[3] A meeting which was influenced by the founders of Scrum created the Agile Manifesto.[4] 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".[5]

The agile approach was developed by Sutherland, John Scumniotales and Jeff McKenna while at Easel Corporation. The principle was based on a 1986 article by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the Harvard Business Review,[6] and incorporates practices from a draft study published in Dr. Dobb's Journal.[7] It involves 30-day cycles of plan, build and monitor sprints.[8] The name Scrum was chosen in reference to the rugby scrummage,[8] as the system involves "a cross-functional team" who "huddle together to create a prioritized list".[9] Scrum has been used by several major corporations.[10] Sutherland has claimed that distributed teams coached to use the system can make large productivity increases against the industry average.[11]

Scrum principle[edit]

Scrum involves a cross-functional team creating a list to work on.[9] The team consists of three roles, the Product Owner, the Team and the Scrum Master, who each have specific tasks.[10] The team then works through three phases - a pre-sprint planning, the sprint and then a post-sprint meeting.[12] The group has daily meetings and keeps a Product Backlog.[13] In contributing to the book The Secrets of Happy Families, Sutherland modified the Agile approach to family interactions.[14]

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.[15] 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".[16] Sutherland has also been quoted as saying that Scrum should run with software architecture.[7]


In 1995, Sutherland and Schwaber jointly presented a paper describing the Scrum methodology at the Business Object Design and Implementation Workshop held as part of Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications '95 (OOPSLA '95) in Austin, Texas, its first public presentation.


In the book Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, it was noted that the Scrum system as originally developed by Sutherland had testing and engineering components which were removed to make the system easier. This decision was criticized, as "without them the quality of your code will degrade", and future change becomes more difficult.[16]


He is a Principal Consultant and Trainer at Scrum, Inc in Boston, Massachusetts[citation needed] where he is the organizational founder.[17] Additionally, he is a Senior Advisor to OpenView Venture Partners, since 2007.[18]


  1. ^ Sutherland, Jeff. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. Crown Publishing Group, 2014, p. 23-25.
  2. ^ Schwaber, Ken (2009). Agile Project Management with Scrum. O'Reilly Media, Inc. ISBN 9780735637900.
  3. ^ Jeff Sutherland (2014). Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780385346467.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Zelkowitz, Marvin (2008). "History of Computers, Electronic Commerce". Advances in Computers: Emerging Technologies. 73: 32.
  6. ^ Sims, Peter (2011). Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries. Random House. p. 85. ISBN 9781409038030.
  7. ^ a b Coplien, James O. (2011). Lean Architecture: for Agile Software Development. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470970133.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b McQuarrie, Gray (2010). Change Your Dam Thinking. Bound Publishing. p. 133. ISBN 9780986723308.
  10. ^ a b Larman, Craig (2008). Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Thinking and Organizational Tools for Large-Scale Scrum. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780321617149.
  11. ^ Woodward, Elizabeth (2010). A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780137061365.
  12. ^ Rico, David F. (2007). Effects of Agile Methods on Website Quality for Electronic Commerce. ProQuest. ISBN 9780549764946.
  13. ^ Kroll, Per (2006). Agility and Discipline Made Easy: Practices from OpenUP and RUP. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780132702485.
  14. ^ Parrish, Shane (9 December 2013). "The secrets of happy families". The Week. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  15. ^ Viscardi, Stacia (2013). The Professional ScrumMaster’s Handbook. Packt Publishing Ltd. ISBN 9781849688031.
  16. ^ a b Alan Shalloway; Guy Beaver; James R. Trott (2009). Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780321647993.
  17. ^ "About Us". Scrum Inc. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  18. ^ "Scrum Creator Sutherland Joins OpenView | OpenView Venture Partners". OpenView. 2007-08-09. Retrieved 2018-03-11.

External links[edit]