The Scrum Alliance is changing gears with its newly announced CEO, Manuel Gonzalez. This marks the first time the alliance has appointed a CEO.
“Scrum Alliance’s Board of Directors had many discussions about the search for a CEO and the skills we felt a good candidate would need to fill the role,” said Harvey Wheaton, chairman of the Scrum Alliance board. “We had more than 200 applicants for this position and spent many months searching and interviewing candidates to be sure we got the best person for the job. With Manny, we are confident we have made the right choice.”
According to the Alliance, Gonzalez’s experience, personality and background aligned with the organization’s needs. He has more than 37 years of experience from a range of business areas and expertise in nonprofit and corporate sectors worldwide.
“I am excited at this opportunity to come work with such an incredibly passionate and talented group of dedicated professionals and practitioners helping to transform the world of work,” said Gonzalez.
In preparation for this week’s Agile2015 Conference, SD Times spoke with Gonzalez about his vision for the Scrum Alliance and the methodology.
SD Times: Why do you think the Scrum Alliance chose you as its CEO?
Gonzalez: Well, I think the board was very wise to identify the different phases organizations go through. My predecessor did a great job of preparing the organization through the early stages, but then you get to the point where you need a different type of expertise or leadership to get the organization to the next level. I believe the board had identified that need for the organization and began to look for that skillset and leadership style that was going to be able to move the organization to that next level in a very strategic manner.
And how are you going to take it there? What are your plans for the organization?
Well, I have a change model that I developed over the years, and it is based on three very simple principles that I live my life under and run my business.
One is relationship-based, and for me relationships are not what you can do for me, but what I can do for you. But there is absolutely nothing I can do for you unless I get to know you, and that takes multiple iterations, which is very Scrum-like. Those iterations are going to lead me to the second principle, which is the more I know you, the more I can see if I have the value proposition. If I don’t bring anything to the table, the relationship is not going to last.
The third principle is honesty, but honesty to me is at a deeper level. It is not just that you shall not steal; it is honesty to be transparent. It is to look in the mirror and see ourselves for who we truly are, not who we think we are. Once you do that, then it is easier to be transparent and look at your capabilities and areas of growth opportunity. So we are going to be utilizing those three principles to change this organization.
My goal is to get to know our constituents, which are the trainers and coaches, at the deepest level so that I can understand their wants, needs, challenges and desires, and we can then with the team come internally and build the system.
What are your goals for Scrum beyond the Alliance?
We need to expand strategically the areas of impact. One area of impact is to transform the world of work. Yes, we need to train people to work for any community, to utilize Scrum in a strategic way, but we also need to convince companies the importance of this agile ideology and methodology of Scrum to be able to do that.
Right now we are a little bit reactive. People go to work, they realize that they need to be trained in the agile ideology, and then they search for the training and certifications. Why can’t we get them before they go to work? Why can’t we teach our school systems to provide this new ideology that is a big piece of our future economy? So that is an area we are going to be growing.
What is your definition of Scrum?
For me, it is the balance of humans, processes and the world we live in. Scrum to me provides the platform that very few companies build themselves on. For example, I don’t believe that profits are against making our world better, which has been a big challenge in the Industrial Age economy. Profits were made by destroying our world, and by destroying our human lives. I think that the future is that companies are starting to understand that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can have profits when we take care of our human resources. When we take care of our employees, our community, our world and our resources, the profits can be there. That to me is what the Scrum ideology—not the methodology, is based upon—and I think that it is the secret of our future.
The only way we are going to be able to expand and grow as a country—as a world—is by making sure that these principles are instilled, not just in our new generations, but in the way we go and do things at work. That to me is what transforming the world of work means.