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Scrum and Agile in China

29 December 2010

Julien Mazloum

It is quite a pleasure for me to be able to introduce a little bit about how Scrum and Agile are developing in China.  However first, a few words about myself. My name is Julien Mazloum. Here is a link to my SA profile.  I am Canadian, passionate about Agile and Scrum, have lived in China for a few years, and co-founded OutSofting.   OutSofting provides Agile training and coaching, and we are an SA-REP.  For two years we have had an office in Beijing, and we are quite active in China.  We have been promoting Agile and Scrum in China by providing Scrum trainings (such as CSM, CSPO) and organizing various events (workshops, conferences and user groups) with the local communities.

Talking about events, the China-based CSXes (in total 13 CSP + CST + CSC) worked together this year as local organizers for the Shanghai Scrum Gathering that took place in April.  That Shanghai Scrum Gathering also saw many experienced Scrum coaches (CSTs and CSCs) come to Shanghai.  The various discussions and exchanges that took place gave a boost to local practitioners.  Since the Shanghai Scrum Gathering, the Agile community in China (with the active support of the China-based CSXes and the Scrum Alliance) is getting bigger, more active, and more organized.  Many Agile events have taken place, a lot of sharing has happened, and the local communities are blossoming in different cities.  Since the earliest adoption of Agile in China (around 2006), 2010 can be viewed as a turning point.

Here is a small summary of the different Agile events that have taken place since then in China:
- QCon Beijing (not only about Agile but had an interesting Agile track) on April 24th.
- CCSPI Beijing 2010 also had an interesting Agile track on June 5th.
- Launch of the Scrum Beijing User Group on the June 27th with a first event.
- Scrum Forum Beijing organized by the Scrum Beijing User Group on August 29th.
- Agile China conference in Beijing on October 14th-15th.
- Shanghai Scrum Forum on October 17th.
- Agile Tour in China with different events across 8 cities (Hangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an and Qingdao) during the months of October-November.
- Launch of the China Agile Alliance (on December 10th) that will continue to promote Agile in China and will take care of the Agile China conference for the next few years.

All these events had excellent local and international Agile speakers (including Bas Vodde, Kane Mar, Mishkin Berteig, James Grenning, Alan Atlas and Jean Tabaka to name a few).  We are looking forward to continuing to welcome various Agile speakers with different specialties.  The Chinese Agilists are also looking forward to sharing their experiences in various gatherings and conferences abroad.

Conclusion: China is waking up to Agile.

Some of you might wonder why it took relatively long to get here. Well, there were a few challenges that needed to be faced and I think the most important ones are:
- Language: Agile articles and books needed to be translated into Chinese to help spread Agile in China. And it naturally took a while. Also, too few Agile trainings were available in Chinese. This situation has changed now.
- Local IT Industry culture was quite strongly process oriented with CMMI receiving strong support from the government. This strongly influenced the local culture in the IT industry (relatively Anti-Agile) as many of these CMMI implementations did not embody values or principles close to the Agile ones.

You may notice that I did not mention national culture as an impediment to the growth of Scrum in China.  This is because I simply do not believe in this argument. Chinese culture is rich, diverse, and not particularly antagonistic to Scrum and Agile.  In my opinion, university education in IT, industry and company cultures, and habits are all much larger challenges. And these same challenges existed and still exist (but are certainly being addressed) in North America, Europe and anywhere else in the world.

Now that Agile and Scrum are spreading in China, it is essential to make sure it is spreading well. We must make sure that the spreading sustains itself not because of a trend towards Agile (IT industry is so trendy…) but because of the results it brings. Therefore, organizations need help to make the most of Scrum and Agile: to use everything it can offer to improve the workplaces and the profitability/sustainability of the organizations.  This is now the focus of our coaching at OutSofting China. And I guess you are already familiar with this concept.

You are welcome to contact me at for any questions related to this article, Scrum in China, or anything else.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 5 (1 ratings)


Shining Hsiong, CSPO, 1/4/2011 9:24:27 AM
Julien mentioned most of Agile events in China in 2010, and agile has indeed a rapid growth in this year of 2010, with quite a lot of related events ever since. Among those:

Agile China Conference in Beijing hosted by ThoughtWorks is the largest one with 500+ attendees.

Scrum Gathering in Shanghai hosted by Scrum Alliance and China agile community activist is most focus on scrum.

Agile Tour China hosted by China agile community activist is the first national wide agile event and has attracted 1500 attendees across 8 cities.

There are also some community agile events. Among those community contributors, OutSofting, UPerform, Perficient, Odd-e and InfoQ are all very active.
Xavier Quesada Allue, CST,CEC,CTC,CSP,CSM,CSPO,REP, 1/7/2011 4:43:13 AM
Thank you Julien for a well-rounded and unbiased description of the state of Agile in China. I think this is a valuable contribution, and I would encourage you to write regular updates to this article in the future.
Glen Wang, CSM, 3/6/2013 1:31:44 AM
Chinese culture and agile can be integrated. I made a speech about this topic @ Agile Tour Guangzhou 2012 and wrote an article of the same topic. Feel free to read and comment the article by clicking my name.

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