Taking 3 Steps Back: Our Origin Story

We are often asked about our name: 3Back. What does that mean? That’s a loaded question because our name truly paints the picture of who we are as a company, as a group of people both energized and intrigued by Scrum, and as respected Certified Trainers, Coaches, Consultants, and Authors.

Our name, like our approach to Modern Scrum, was born out of the real-world experience. It was also born out of many grueling and hot summer days spent suspended on a ladder painting houses. As our Founder Doug Shimp tells the story, one day, as a teenager earning money as a house painter, he had an epiphany that would shape how he approached painting. And, years later, he would shape how he formed our company.

Taking 3 steps back is often called the power of detachment.

After making some colossal painting mistakes that caused him a great deal of time and money to fix, he realized something. It wasn’t the painting itself that led to his mistakes. He could not inspect his progress on the job and adapt his work to meet his customer’s needs accurately. He realized that he needed to change his perspective to deliver a good product (a well-painted house) and repeat this process with other products (more houses so he could earn more money). He needed to get down the ladder and take three steps back. He needed a broader view of his work and to make immediate adjustments. Little did he know then that his new ‘three steps back’ philosophy nicely mirrored the basic principles of Scrum. (continue reading below)


Fast forward several years, and here we are, 3Back, a group of experts in agile practices and Scrum Theory passionate about transforming these fundamentals into a practical implementation that makes Teams better. Our training, coaching, and consulting are grounded in exploring real-world, client-driven experiences. The result is meaningful, hands-on, adult learning focused on improving your Team’s efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment through Scrum.

Many of us have had our own ‘three steps back’ moments. Perhaps it was when hanging pictures on a wall or rearranging furniture in a room. We intuitively take ‘three steps back’ to alter our vantage point, pause, examine our work and make changes. In these moments, we are practicing one of the most essential principles of Scrum. It makes sense. And now, so does our 3Back name.

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As Always, Stay Agile.