Scrum Origins and Agile Principles: The Foundations of Agile Project Management

Scrum Origins and Agile PrinciplesScrum Origins and Agile Principles

The world of project management has been revolutionized by the introduction of Agile methodologies, with Scrum being one of the most popular frameworks.

Understanding the origins of Scrum and its connection to Agile principles is essential for anyone looking to harness the power of Agile project management.

In this article, we will explore the history of Scrum (origins), the Agile Manifesto, and how the two work together to create a powerful approach to managing projects.

Scrum Origins

Scrum's origins can be traced back to a 1986 paper published by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the Harvard Business Review (opens in a new tab), titled The New New Product Development Game.

The authors introduced the concept of a highly flexible, iterative, and collaborative approach to product development.

This approach was inspired by Rugby's scrum formation, where players huddle together to restart the game after a minor violation.

In the early 1990s, Jeff Sutherland (opens in a new tab) and Ken Schwaber (opens in a new tab) independently developed their own Scrum frameworks, later merging their ideas to create a single, unified Scrum framework.

Ken and Jeff presented their Scrum framework at the 1995 Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) conference, marking the formal introduction of Scrum to the world.

The first full implementation of Scrum took place in 1993 when Jeff Sutherland, John Scumniotales, and Jeff McKenna implemented it at the Easel Corporation (opens in a new tab). They applied Scrum principles to software development projects and achieved significant improvements in productivity and quality.

Scrum is characterized by its focus on collaboration, adaptability, and iterative development.

It emphasizes self-organizing teams, regular feedback, and continuous improvement. The framework consists of specific roles, events, artifacts, and rules that guide the development process.

The Agile Manifesto

The Agile ManifestoThe Agile Manifesto

In 2001, a group of seventeen software development experts gathered in Snowbird, Utah, to discuss lightweight development methods. This meeting resulted in the creation of the Agile Manifesto, which outlines the core values and principles of Agile methodologies, including Scrum.

The Agile Manifesto consists of four values:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

These values emphasize the importance of people, collaboration, and adaptability in software development.

Scrum Values

Scrum ValuesScrum Values

In addition to the Agile Manifesto, Scrum is built on five key values that guide the behavior of Scrum teams:

  1. Commitment - The team is dedicated to achieving the goals of the project and delivering high-quality results.
  2. Courage - Team members have the courage to face challenges, make tough decisions, and continuously improve.
  3. Focus - The team concentrates on the work at hand, prioritizing tasks and minimizing distractions.
  4. Openness - Team members are transparent about their work, progress, and any obstacles they face.
  5. Respect - Team members appreciate and value each other's unique skills and contributions.

By embracing the Agile principles and Scrum values, teams can work together more effectively, adapt to changing requirements, and deliver valuable products to their customers.

In the next lesson, we will dive deeper into the roles within a Scrum team, including the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development Team.

Scrum Framework

Scrum FrameworkScrum Framework

Scrum is an iterative and incremental Agile framework designed to manage complex product development. It emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. The Scrum framework consists of:

  1. Roles: Product Owner (opens in a new tab), Scrum Master, and Development Team
  2. Artifacts: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog and Increment
  3. Events: Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective

These components work together to enable a Scrum team to plan, develop, and deliver high-quality products iteratively.

The Impact of Scrum and Agile on Project Management

The adoption of Scrum and Agile principles has significantly impacted the project management landscape. Traditional, plan-driven methods are being replaced by flexible, iterative approaches that focus on delivering value to the customer early and often.

Scrum, in particular, has become one of the most widely used Agile frameworks, providing a practical methodology that aligns with Agile principles.

Organizations using Scrum have reported improvements in product quality, customer satisfaction, team morale, and project visibility.


Understanding the origins of Scrum and its foundation in Agile principles provides valuable context for anyone involved in Agile project management. As we've seen, Scrum and Agile principles are intrinsically linked, with Scrum operationalizing these principles in a practical and effective way.

Whether you're new to Agile or a seasoned Scrum practitioner, appreciating the connection between Scrum and Agile can help you better leverage these powerful tools to deliver high-quality products that meet your customer's needs.

Scrum Framework - A Motivational QuoteScrum Framework - A Motivational Quote

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) / People Also Ask (PAA)

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