Jeff Sutherland – Frequency Foundation and Agile and Scrum Implications?

[*Update – See Jeff Sutherlands response to this here]

Renee Troughton, author of The Agile Forest has come upon something quite fascinating. So fascinating, I was literally glued to my seat as I read. Here are the top level details of what she found out:

  • Since 2002, Jeff Sutherland (Co-Founder of Scrum), has been a chief proponent of Frequency Application Technology to help heal your body and mind through the Frequency Foundation.
  • This “technology” was founded by Royal Rife and eventually discredited by the medical profession in the 1950’s.
  • Because this is not a proven science, a disclaimer is held on the website: “Because of the lack of FDA or other federal or state government approval of tests, procedures or information provided, I understand that results can only be accepted for their entertainment value.”
  • You can pay $200 for “Remote Analysis” where your photos you send in are analyzed by microscopes.
Renee’s final thoughts are captured here:

“This is not a post to extol or demerit the virtues of Scrum, but if it’s founder is caught up in an environment that denies scientific tests, that is concerned by agents investigating him and has limited technical depth in simplistic things such as photo resolutions then what does that mean for the Scrum community?

I do understand that science theories such as Evolution were discredited by the mainstream population and even officially by the US government for a portion of time but we are talking about a science community that has recently tested and debunked this theory. A theory that has reached the courts and lost several times.

The believer in this theory, Jeff Sutherland, is still trying to sell his $200US solution to anyone desperate for an answer.

Are we being led by a knowledge founder that doesn’t believe in metrics; a leader that doesn’t stop when faced with facts? Does this call into question why Scrum is so slow to adopt change and new concepts?

Are we being led by a knowledge founder that peddles $200US entertainment solutions. Where does “working software” (solutions) fit in here?

How does this fit against the Scrum community’s ethic of openness? How does this fit against “We would rather say, ‘no,’ then make false promises.”

Are there any relationships between Scrum’s method of training and Frequency Foundation?

Is there any link to the Frequency Foundation and the split of  the Scrum Alliance and”

I wonder what is next?

[See the Renee’s original post here]

What do you think?

11 Replies to “Jeff Sutherland – Frequency Foundation and Agile and Scrum Implications?”

    1. Like your evocative comments from your blog about this:
      “Scrum founder Jeff Sutherland has been selling consultations relating to widely debunked pseduomedicine theories.”

      1) Scrum is just the idea of Sutherland and to some degree Schwaber. Similar to the Rife Frequencies just being an idea — there is no proof that either works, yet Sutherland sells both

      3) The Rife folks appear to be preying on desperate people hoping for a silver bullet to cure their ills. And Scrum (IMHO) is preying on desperate managers hoping for a silver bullet

      “The FrequencyFoundation site actually talks about chem trails and healing pets from dirty electricity!”

      — Dang. This just sucks.

  1. Lots of successful people in a profession hold beliefs in other areas that we might perceive to be strange. I believe this describes almost any Hollywood actor. Doesn’t necessarily invalidate their contribution in the field in which hold true expertise. I certainly don’t believe a rigid application of Scrum is useful in all instances. And (as you would expect) I find it hard to imagine a case where the addition of Kanban techniques won’t make even the most successful Scrum implementation even better. But …. Scrum absolutely does contain good ideas. Jeff’s other hobbies notwithstanding.

    1. Lot’s of things have a “kernel of truth” — eg a few good ideas, and then are turned into a crank cult.

      Is orange juice good for you? Sure. Is going on an all orange juice diet good for? Probably not.

      Scrum is a caveman style, neolithic form of management. Did the cavemen have any good ideas? I imagine they had — getting everyone in a room and grunting about things, with no burdensome documentation.

      Should we hold Sutherland to a high standard? Of course we should; transparency, honesty, trust.

      If the founder of a religion writes a book, consisting of a few well known techniques (daily meetings, drinking orange juice) and then hawks it as the next one true management, and we investigate what their overall logic process looks like — Jeff has a PhD in some medical discipline — it is impossible to give a pass to him or anyone else…

      I’m sure this is an inconvenient truth that many would like to handwave past by saying don’t blame the message blame the founder — the two are so intertwined, that I don’t believe it’s a valid excuse.

      Especially when this founder is at the top of a Certification scheme, which many have likened to an MLM operation.

      At the end of the day, if someone is telling half truths or untruths of something, they are not trustable. If they lie about the size of the fish they caught, they’ll lie about something else.


  2. Peter – really?? You published this? What business is it of the community if Jeff, Ken or anyone else has different beliefs/values than you?

    Lets remove “rife” from the situation and replace all mentions of it with religion. Would you reaction be the same? Of course not.

    I’m really quite surprised.

    BTW Jordan, yes I’m a CST, yes teach about Agile/Scrum/Kanban for a living. Yes I’m part of your conspiracy theory too.

    Mark Levison

    1. Mark,

      Fair enough. I thought (regardless of intent by original author), that it was an interesting piece. We are a news site after all.
      I don’t have to agree with everything that is stated, and lent myself to simply report on it. The community can answer the call after all.

      1. Peter – when you publish something your blog your making at least a minimum statement of support.

        If you had wanted to report on this issue, you could have used a neutral tone. Instead you praise Renee’s detective work. Is your next item going to be an apology to Jeff? I think he deserves one.


    2. The question isn’t whether he has different beliefs, the question is whether he’s selling voodoo therapies related to Medicine or Software Development.

      Completely fair game and deserving to be reported on.


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