In vintage final four fashion, this bout went blow for blow to end. Two heavy weights slugged it out for the right to represent their hemisphere of the bracket in the 2015 Agile Madness Finals. Beck struck first, taking both the ‘Influencer’ and ‘Framework’ categories. Many components and techniques that Beck developed for Extreme Programming (XP) have infiltrated and remained sustainable in most of the major frameworks today; an impact that could not be matched by Cohn. While our Agile practice reveres Cohn as being one of the top Agile practitioners in the world, even Cohn would likely admit that without the strong foundation of software development principles that were built by people such as Beck, Agile may not be what it is today.
Just when this match seemed all but over, Cohn came out swinging. As we shifted gears over to the ‘Academics’ category, we quickly realized this battle was far from over. Cohn’s achievements in the academic space are impressive to say the least. There was no debate who won this category with Cohn serving as Chief Editor of the Addison Wesley Signature Series. The signature series books have received some of the highest ratings in the Agile community, and they continue to be favored by many enterprises practicing Agile techniques today. With the ‘Agile Community’ category up next, Cohn tied this match up 2-2 with another impressive showing. Cohn is highly active in the Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance and also regularly posts topics on his Mountain Goat Software blog. Cohn is a founding member of the Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance, with over 370K members in the Scrum Alliance alone.
All of Mike Cohn’s accolades ran short however, when Beck delivered the knockout with his win in the ‘Partnership’ category. Cohn is well known for his partnerships with Sutherland, Schwaber, the many signature book series authors, etc. but our Agile practice felt that Beck’s extensive list of partnerships was enough to edge out Cohn. When you add in Beck’s partnerships in XP, Smalltalk, etc. with individuals like Ward Cunningham, Ron Jefferies, and Erich Gamma, it’s hard to argue with the influence those partnerships had on future agile software development methods. For this reason, Kent Beck heads on to the championship round, where he awaits his next victim.
As expected, this final four matchup came down to the wire. It’s hard to know where to begin when comparing the two Scrum giants, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. The roots of the partnership between Sutherland and Schwaber extends back 20+ years, dating back to when they first presented scrum together at Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA ’95). Since then, Schwaber and Sutherland have become the Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of the Agile community.
Together, Sutherland and Schwaber helped author the Agile manifesto, co-wrote the ‘Definitive Scrum Guide’, and helped establish the Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance. Independently, Sutherland is currently the CEO of Scrum Inc. and most recently introduced his take on scaling Agile with his Scrum at Scale framework. Schwaber recently launched his own version of scaled Agile with his Scaled Professional Scrum framework, which he launched on Scrum.org, Schwaber founded in 2009.
In the end, Schwaber was able to edge out Sutherland for his establishing the foundations of the Scrum training courses. What originally began as a way to train organizations on ‘mastering’ scrum, has turned into an extensive list of certifications and associated credentials that most agilists desperately seek. While the impact to Agile and Scrum may not have been foreseen at the time Schwaber began his trainings, today’s certification courses have become a mandatory resume acronym to work in the agile community.