【A Brief History of Agile】Mike Beedle - Tragic Loss to the Scrum Community

2022-02-11 15:06:33
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Summary : Mike was an amazing and magical guy that could take a new idea like Scrum and not only build hyper-productive teams but deliver a hyper-productive company! He is irreplaceable in the Scrum community and he will be missed greatly.

On March 23, 2018, an accidental assassination took place in Chicago, United States. A man assassinated co-Author of Agile Manifesto and Creator of Enterprise Scrum Mike Beedle, has passed away at the age of 55. Jeff Sutherland, the father of Scrum, stated in his in memory of Mike Beedle

"Mike was an amazing and magical guy that could take a new idea like Scrum and not only build hyper-productive teams but deliver a hyper-productive company! He is irreplaceable in the Scrum community and he will be missed greatly."

At first, Mike published a master's thesis during his school days on nonlinear systems. Shortly after the paper was published, Mike was invited by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. They combined the concepts in the paper and eventually reached a consensus: to create a highly productive team capable of acting as an adaptive system. This consensus opened the door to a whole new world for Mike, providing Mike with a smooth transition into a software engineer and a foundational contribution to the vision of the Agile Manifesto.

After that, Mike went on to study theoretical physics and got his Ph.D. In the research process, the rich imagination and rigorous academic attitude necessary for theoretical physics also significantly impacted his later life.

Create "Enterprise Scrum"

Having experienced early Scrum practice, Mike became one of the first to implement Scrum after Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. He also collaborated with other Scrum practitioners to write articles and papers on Scrum's earliest days.

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Around 1997, Mike finally created a new achievement by mining and expanding the Scrum model: Enterprise Scrum. Enterprise Scrum is a framework for agile all development work within an enterprise. It also means applying Scrum to the enterprise, continuous update, improvement, and adaptation.

Using the Enterprise Scrum model, Mike has built the most productive team and a highly productive enterprise. As the founder and CEO of Enterprise Scrum, Mike has given Enterprise Scrum a new mission to regenerate the enterprise, including all the enterprise's business units, business models, processes, products, and services.

Propose "Agile"

As one of 17 people who created and signed the Agile Manifesto, Mike played an integral role at the Snowbird Conference in 2001.

In a talk show about Mike's career, Mike recalled that he had proposed the term "Agile" which ultimately filtered through a process of selection with the other signatories:

"I can tell you I came up with that word (Agile) because I was familiar with the book Agile Competitors and Virtual Organisations. We had proposed Adaptive, Essential, Lean and Lightweight. We did not want to use Adaptive because Jim Highsmith had given this to one of his works. Essential sounded overly proud. Lean had already been taken. Nobody wanted to be a lightweight. We did this late in the second day and it took only a few minutes to decide on this."

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Mike was an inspiration to many in the agile community. Ron Jeffries, also a fellow Manifesto signatory, offered these thoughts:

"Mike was a passionate and positive believer in Agile ideas, especially focused on the entire enterprise. He loved to discuss his ideas with vigor. He and I would often get into a disagreement about some idea that seemed important to us. We’d dig into things excitedly and often heatedly, but never with rancor. Through even the most intense discussions, you could always be sure Mike would remain your friend."

When asked what advice he could give to the next generation of practitioners, Beedle responded:

"I would tell them to take the agile ideas as a good starting point. A starting point that maybe gets you further than what we had as management in the 20th century. Don’t stop looking. Keep innovating. Keep questioning the techniques. Keep questioning what’s going great. The only way to evolve eventually is to piggy-back and stand on the shoulders of giants. Don’t be afraid to take it down. If you do see good reasons to evolve it, to improve it, go ahead. Don’t stop here. Take it further."

With great expectations for agile, Mike continues to improve the Enterprise Scrum methodology and move forward.

In 2016, Mike's book " Enterprise Scrum: An Adaptive Method for Project Success" was published. In this book, he introduces a proven enterprise-level Scrum process, dissects the various roles in project management, and summarizes detailed case studies from multiple domains.

Later, the gradually mature Enterprise Scrum model proved its value not only in the software development industry, but also in enterprise teams in other industries. Mike also shares this research with companies around the world through various agile events.

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Until 2018, Mike tweeted about what would continue to make Scrum better. Sadly, however, this became Mike's last tweet.

In life, Mike is full of enthusiasm and kindness to everything around him. He is familiar with many instruments and can compose wonderful melodies freely without too much hesitation. Just like his divergent thinking one by one, he can always bring surprising innovation to Agile.

A person who dares to challenge reality with all his tentacles is destined to bring about different miracles. In memory of Mike Beedle.


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