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Why Does Agility Try to Rely on Empiricism?

Empiricism as a pillar of agility allows the different mechanisms to gather relevant information and apply the lessons learned.

October 3, 2021

Empiricism considers that knowledge is based on the accumulation of observations and measurable facts, from which general laws can be extracted through inductive reasoning, thus going from the concrete to the abstract. 

In short, by using empiricism as a pillar of agility, we make sure to put in place different mechanisms to gather relevant information and then apply the lessons learned to the project. 

For example, each Scrum event is a pure source of learning. During planning, the PO learns from the development team how to create better user scenarios. The team, in turn, learns how to ask good questions, better understand the scope of the activities to be performed and, as a result, will provide better estimates. Product backlog maintenance will also get great learning in these areas. 

The daily Scrum 

Still too often seen as a progress report – is meant to be a sharing of the previous day and how we can work better for the day ahead. The coordination of the members will be better each time, as the sprint progresses and as we learn. 

The sprint review 

By obtaining feedback from the stakeholders, the Scrum team can better understand the mission it has been given. As the demonstrations progress, the implementation team will better understand what needs to be presented to obtain the most feedback possible. 

The retrospective 

Is an excellent time to learn from the way things are done and the experiments or changes that need to be made to the way the team operates. 

In short, Scrum is the perfect ecosystem to get all the benefits of empiricism! 

Kanban is not to be outdone! We can add several events of Scrum that have proven themselves! We will then talk about Scrumban... 

Otherwise, we must know how to integrate inspection and adaptation mechanisms to our Kanban framework in order to maximize our chances of achieving the desired improvement. Sometimes, just the fact of making all activities visible (no invisible work) allows us to quickly identify bottlenecks or one or more of the eight sources of waste as identified in a Lean approach. 

Happy empiricism!