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Sprint to the Goal

By this point, most software developers are intimately familiar with “scrum,” an iterative and incremental agile software development framework used for managing product development. This methodology provides a way to develop quality software quickly, and allows change requests at any stage of the process.

But where did this strategy get its start?

The term scrum comes from the popular British sport Rugby. Short for scrummage, these in-game events happen when the ball goes out of bounds or after an accidental infringement. To restart the game, players pack tightly together, heads down. Each player is intent on attempting to regain possession of the ball.

The roots of agile software development date back to the mid-1950s, when developers at New York Telephone implemented early forms of the methodology in their own processes.

The Big “Aha”
In 1986, Japanese professors Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka co-authored The New New Product Development Game (sic). The article stressed the need for a reinforced emphasis on speed and flexibility during the development of new products. Management magazine Harvard Business Review quickly picked up and published the article, spreading its ideas to developers throughout the United States.

In the early 90s, Boston, Massachusetts-based developers Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber got a hold of Takeuchi and Nonaka’s article. By 2001, the pair came together with several other developers at the Lodge Snowbird ski resort in Utah to ski, eat and relax. What transpired from this discussion became the Agile Software Development Manifesto.

Manifest Destiny
The ideas garnered from the ski lodge soiree laid the foundation for a powerful methodology used by companies like AOL, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft to not only eliminate downtime, but also reduce the amount of work in progress.

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