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What Is Empiricism in Scrum?

Empiricism in Scrum is an approach whereby the team continuously learns and improves from mistakes. In Scrum, empiricism means that the team makes decisions and changes based on what the customer is actually experiencing, rather than what the developers intended them to experience. Additionally, the empiricism meaning in Scrum is the concept that customer feedback has a direct impact on the team’s actions. 

When considering Scrum empiricism, it’s important to examine three pillars that underpin the entire Scrum process: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. 

  • Transparency: Scrum teams create transparency by using Scrum tools like the product backlog, burndown charts, daily stand-up meetings, retrospective meetings, and sprint reviews. These Scrum processes bring transparency to the work process for the entire team and help ensure that problems are addressed. When the team achieves its goals, these processes make clear who was responsible, and those parties can be adequately appreciated for their achievements. 
  • Inspection: Another building block of empiricism in Scrum is the recurrent inspection of Scrum artifacts for learning purposes. To inspect Scrum artifacts, Scrum teams can use common Scrum boards that allow all team members to easily see the status of the project. They can also collect feedback from customers during various phases of the Sprint process, or create a prioritized product backlog process. 
  • Adaptation: Finally, adaptation is critical to upholding the empiricism approach in Scrum. Adaptation is the act of changing what isn’t working and keeping what is successful. This might be done by creating small experiments, then removing elements if the experiment fails, or keeping them if it is successful. 

In addition to maintaining the five Scrum values, these three pillars will help a team retain empirical process control. Empiricism in Scrum allows full visibility into the process, encourages regular inspection to determine what needs changing, and prompts the team to make those changes by experimentation quickly. Relying on these three pillars of empiricism in Scrum is the key to ensuring the Scrum process works effectively.

Further reading

What Is an Agile Scrum Master?

blog post

What Are the 5 Scrum Values?

blog post

Fundamentals of the Scrum Methodology


How to Run a Scrum Meeting