Monday, January 4, 2010 Religious Schism or business disagreement?

You may be aware of this posting by Ken Schwaber for details. I can't tell yet whether it's a case of Religious Schism, Founder's Syndrome, or just plain disagreement among so-far-successful business partners.

In any case, I found Ken's statement about the Scrum Guide not being updated by the Scrum Alliance intriguing, and I used vi and tkdiff to analyze the differences between the new Scrum Guide published in and the old one published in

This is what I've found:
  • The document is now co-authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.
  • The old version was dated in May 2009, the new one in November same year.
  • The old document didn't carry any copyright notices. The new one does (reserving all rights to the authors).
  • An historical introduction with acknowledgements has been added.
  • The first section changes title from "Introduction to Scrum" to "Purpose".
  • The three "legs" are now three "pillars".
  • A couple of spelling mistakes are corrected, and another couple added. Ditto for some minor punctuation and grammar issues.
  • Two phrases have been added, the first one very necessary (as there was no definition of "impediment" in the old document), the second one somewhat of a non-sequitur, IMO:
    • [...] The ScrumMaster also helps the Scrum Team do its best in an organizational environment that may not yet be optimized for complex product development. When the ScrumMaster helps make these changes, this is called “removing impediments.” [..]
    • [...] Release planning is entirely optional. If Scrum teams start work without the meeting, the absence of its artifacts will become apparent as an impediment that needs to be resolved. Work to resolve the impediment will become an item in the Product Backlog. [...]
  • The definition of the Daily Scrum changes from "a 15-minute status meeting" to "a 15-minute inspect and adapt meeting" -- which anyone familiar with Scrum will agree is a good, necessary change.
  • The last tip has been moved into a last section titled "Final thoughts".
All in all, I don't find enough ingredients for a Religious Schism,  or even for Founder's Syndrome. So, until I get more data, I'll operate under the assumption that it's just a dispute over intelectual property of a work which is generating material revenue.

[P.S.: thanks to  Ron Jeffries for pointing out that "Cisma" is not English. I found the right word in English is "schism" -- also a transliteration of the Greek source, σχισμα. Corrected]
[P.S.: thanks to Michael James for making me notice that the last tip was moved to a "Final thoughts" section. Updated.]


  1. I believe some text was moved into "tips" sections to appear less prescriptive.


  2. Not that I've found. Actually the opposite: the last (very lengthy) tip is moved to a section titled "Final thoughts". I'll update my list to make it fully accurate. Thanks.