What is Empiricism?
As stated in Wikipedia: “empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.” This means that we can only gain true knowledge by experience. Empiricism emphasizes the role of empirical evidence in the formation of ideas, rather than innate ideas or traditions. Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation.
Now let’s translate this and see how empiricism is connected to Scrum.
Empiricism in Scrum
The entire Scrum framework is built on empiricism. The idea of working on short iterations, reviewing results, inspecting and adapting … is empiricism.
The three pillars of Scrum are “Transparency”, “Inspect” and “Adapt”:
The facts are always presented as they are. Nothing is hidden or “tweaked”, everything is transparent to everybody. All the people involved (the Scrum Team, the stakeholders and even the CEO) trust each other and have the courage to share the real facts with each other.
Inspection means that the team and stakeholder review the current state of the product, process and team working on a regular basis. The inspection is intended to reflect, give feedback, and adapt when needed. Inspecting (and adapting) on a regular basis stimulates that the product is going to the right direction and that the team is working efficiently. For example, if the increment is inspected during the sprint review and it doesn’t meet the desires of the stakeholders, the team can adapt very fast. If we would wait for multiple months, or not do any inspection at all, the product will have emerged much more, it may be more difficult to adapt or it may not meet the customers needs at all.
Adapting means that we are using the outcome from the inspection to adapt and continuously improve.
Empiricism is encorporated into the enitre Scrum framework. Working in short iterations (Sprints), reviewing the product increment at the end of each sprint in the sprint review is all in lign with the idea of empiricism: working based on experience and results from experiments. The Daily Scrum is also a good example of empiricism on a daily basis because the team will inspect and adapt based on the results of the previous day and so on…