Scrum Alliance vs Tobias Mayer

scrum alliance vs tobias mayer

“[There is a] failure of the Scrum Alliance itself to rise to the leadership challenge, and live up to its own mission to “Transform the World of Work.” – Tobias Mayer

Sometime in the mid afternoon of October 14th, Tobias Mayer let the world know about his renunciation of the Scrum Alliance, it’s business model and methods, as well as his highly-prized certifications.

Wow. What to say? After reading what Tobias Mayer recently posted on his Agile Anarchy blog we were stunned. We were sure that there would be someone out there that would post a rebuttal of some sort fairly quickly, but not yet. Maybe it’s in the 50+ comments that are at the bottom of his blog.

Since we are investigative reporters on what is going on in the Agile community it wouldn’t seem fair if we didn’t cover Tobias’ renunciation. Do we have an opinion in the matter? Well, sort of, but that isn’t for today.

What is apparent through Tobias’ post as well as other members of the Scrum community that responded on his blog was this: There is an obvious issue surrounding the way the Scrum Alliance works. Whether it is good or bad is up for discussion.

It’s an Agile anarchy world we live in is it not?

Tobias reminds us of his position with the Scrum Alliance:

“Please understand that I have been involved with the SA from the beginning, struggling against a tide of opacity, benevolent dictatorship, PMI influence, a focus on process rather than principles, and many other behaviors and directions I felt undermine the spirit of Scrum — the spirit of change.”

Tobias has removed himself from the Scrum Alliance because he saw that it was not as creative as it needed to be. To him:

“The SA is the archetypical unScrum organization, a big lumbering machine, intent on maintaining its status quo, valuing profit over service, control over trust, and engaging in operating practices that are opaque, undemocratic and lacking in integrity.”

So we, being a good Agile Scout decided to investigate the matter. We emailed the Scrum Alliance about their response to Tobias’ blog entry in hopes that we would receive a response from them. An excerpt from the email we wrote to them said:

“We here at are investigative reporters bringing the community an independent voice around Agile… We wanted to know what response you may have to Tobias’ recent blog post… And what your response may be. He has some pretty candid thoughts around how the SA is conducting it’s organization and…we think it would be valuable for the Scrum Alliance to respond to this matter and give the public another side of the story.”

The response was quick and succinct:

“It is not our policy at the SA to comment on the opinions of former staff members such as Tobias.  I have a great deal of respect for Tobias who I met for the first time  in [Deleted].  I have invited him to attend the Amsterdam Scrum Gathering as my guest and I look forward to sitting down and chatting with him there.”

We’re under the impression that as Tobias had stated in his blog, the community will need to decide where we go from here and define as a community what the future of Scrum will look like as the Scrum Alliance will not be commenting on neither Tobias’ departure nor his comments.

While some can look at this departure as a ground shaking issue, we believe that the Scrum community can respond in one of two ways: Anger or action. Our hope is that Tobias’ strong words allow every individual to inspect and adapt themselves to a higher level of professionalism. It can be a brave new world out there, one that continues to prove the merits and value that Scrum has to offer to businesses worldwide.

[Written by Peter Saddington, Executive Editor of Agile Scout. Peter has a CSM and CSP granted to him by the Scrum Alliance.]


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