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Kane Mar is a Scrum Coach and Certified Scrum Trainer. He first worked with Ken Schwaber (the Co-creator of Scrum) in 2001 and has been actively involved with the Agile community ever since. Mar became a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) in 2006, a Certified Scrum Coach (CSC) in 2007, started the very first Scrum users group (Seattle Scrum) in 2007, and co-founded in 2009. Kane is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 18 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

5 Big Scrum Questions – Issue 3

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This is the third issue of James Brett‘s 5 Questions. Issue 1 featured Ron Jefferies, and Issue 2 featured Ken Schwaber. From the first issue of 5 Questions ”The ideas was to ask five specific questions to members of the Scrum community and post the their replies.”

Over the next couple of months I’ll be republishing all of James Brett’s 5 Questions as they appeared on his blog.

In issue 3 of the five questions series we hear from Mike Cohn.Mike is the author of some of the most successful IT books, including Agile Estimating and Planning, User Stories Applied and his upcoming new book Succeeding with Agile. A big thankyou to Mike for taking the time to squeeze these answers into his incredibly busy schedule.

Bio. Mike Cohn is the founder of Mountain Goat Software (, where he teaches and coaches on Scrum and agile development. He is the author of Agile Estimating and Planning, User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development, and the upcoming Succeeding with Agile: Software Development with Scrum. With more than 25 years of experience, Mike has previously been a technology executive in companies of various sizes, from startup to Fortune 40. A frequent magazine contributor and conference speaker, Mike is a founding member of the Scrum Alliance and the Agile Alliance. He can be reached at

Mike’s answers..

Q1. Can you describe what you would consider the top Scrum enabler in an organization?

People who want to do something better than they are doing it today. This could be a group that wants to build a product that is smaller or faster or cheaper than anyone else has ever done. Or it could be a group wants to continue to enhance their existing product or service faster, more efficiently, or with higher quality. Wherever this type of passion exists, it can be used to help Scrum take off in that organization.

Q2. Where do you see Scrum in 5 years time?

I’d like to see all of agile be the default way for doing software development. Five or so years ago a lot of the issues were around how can we plan if we’re agile and how can we do it with forty people on the project. Those issues are behind us and plenty of teams have shown us how to overcome those challenges.

Today I hear a lot of questions about how do we do Scrum on globally distributed projects, how do we do it on very large projects, how do we do it within the full organization and so on. Those issues, too, will be behind us in five years.

Q3. What has been your toughest Scrum challenge so far?

I think they’re all tough. Scrum teaches us though that we overcome the challenges by breaking large obstacles into small pieces and continuously making progress.

Q4. What makes you passionate about Scrum?

I’ve always been passionate about anything to do with software. When I spend all-day programming, I would spend all evening reading about programming or doing more programming. When I started managing or running departments, I got passionate about those aspects of software development.

I think I’m passionate about software development because it’s fun. It’s fun to create something, especially something as useful as a new piece of software can be.

Q5. What can we learn from you about Scrum?

The things that I learn from the teams I work with. All of the ideas I teach or write about are ones that I learned from working with different teams.

Published at DZone with permission of Kane Mar, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Ian Mitchell replied on Sun, 2013/05/05 - 3:23am

I'd second Mike's contention that enterprise and scalability issues are a big challenge facing agile transformation today. I'm not so sure that a five-year timescale is realistic though. I'm sure that great advances will continue to be made with the large corporates, and initiatives like Dean Leffingwell's Scaled Agile Framework and Scott Ambler's Disciplined Agile Delivery are likely to play their part in that. However, I think we'll be lucky to see an agile transition occur within the public sector even in the next twenty years. Progress is being made and it is definitely achievable, but it's shaping up to be a painfully slow job.

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