Zen of Scrum: The Beginnings


yin-yangZen values simplicity, so does agile development. Zen means introspection, a key component of Scrum as well. Additionally, Zen is the attainment of enlightenment: very similar to the feeling when you first get agile.

As promised, here's the first post in a series about the free presentation Zen of Scrum available at SlideShare.net. (It is also available as PDF here.)

Why did I name the slideshow Zen of Scrum1? In addition to the things mentioned above, Zen is a state of complete awareness where you are in perfect tune with your surroundings, ready for anything. This is a goal of Scrum, too: you should always be prepared for, and welcome, changes.

Agile Manifesto

Scrum is founded on the agile manifesto and its underlying principles.


The way the agile manifesto is formulated leads to the occasional misconception that planning, processes, documentation and contracts are neglected. That's not true. It’s important to remember the last sentence.

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Scrum Goals

Scrum is a product development framework that is based on empirical control process theory.

What does that mean? A framework is a collection of practices that are designed to work together to handle a particular type of problem. Empirical control process theory is based on iterative development where you evaluate the process, and adapt accordingly, after each iteration. The process is transparent and can be observed from the outside.


In Scrum, transparency means visibility to stakeholders and the use of a common vocabulary and definitions.

The word Scrum comes from Rugby, and was first mentioned XXXX. In Rugby, Scrum is defined in the rules.

The purpose of the scrum is to restart play quickly, safely and fairly after a minor infringement or a stoppage.

In the next post I will write about the five Scrum values and the four pillars of Scrum.

  1. “Zen of Scrum” does not feel as original now as when I named the presentation. Zen is used in a lot of other contexts related to Scrum and agile, for example by AgileZen. Additionally, David Allen talks about the state of Zen in association with GTD.


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