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Scrum, The Four legs of a Three Pillar Methodology
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Written by Daniel Pedemonte   
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 21:22

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As you would probably know by now (and if you don’t, there are hundreds of articles you can read on that matter), Scrum is originally founded on the Empirical Process Control Theory and uses this approach to optimize predictability and control risks.

Now, what does that mean? Well, it means that in order to have knowledge, you must first have an experience on the subject, a learning experience through your own perception that can allow you to evaluate, make good decisions and have success…

The trick is that success is the result of good judgment, good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgment, this is where the “experience” part comes in handy, it takes some time to get it, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be your own! You can model strategies that are already working by finding and modeling someone that is already achieving what you want.

Remember, success leaves clues; you don’t need to re-invent the wheel, just take this person’s experience and make it your own -you must test it first, of course, but it will eventually turn months into days for sure.

The Pillars

There are three pillars known to uphold the implementation of this empirical process; these are Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation.

. For Transparency I mean that all the significant aspects of the development process must be visible and understandable to both those who are responsible for the outcome and those who are expecting it (meaning team members and managers and product owners).

Slang language and technicalities must be reduced to a minimum or shared initially to all participants so everybody understands what’s being said. The word “done” must be taken especially into consideration for obvious reasons.

. Inspection is another word for Evaluation, it means that you must check your course to see if it’s really working, and make eventual adjustments to make sure you reach your desired destination… Pilots do it, you know? All the wind and currents up there are always interfering with their flight, and they don’t go nuts yelling “we’re not going to make it!!”… No. They simply check their course, make adjustments and land on their destination right on the spot (of course now there are computers doing this job, but it was done by humans not so long ago, so if we are lucky, some of that primitive instinct must have prevailed).

This check must be done in such a way that doesn’t get in the way of the work… we’re not there just for checking the road, we must reach a certain destination and we must be on time as well.

. Adaptation… it is after all, the Mother of Evolution.
If our checking reveals that we’re actually deviating from our original course, we must try something else until we get the result we were expecting. How many times should you try something else? Well, let me ask you this: how much time would you give your average baby to see if he can walk? How much time? You’d probably say “my baby will try and try until he’d walk!” Wow, magic formula… no wander why everybody walks… but you see, most adults are conditioned to fear failure and rejection so we don’t really try enough. You have to break through that limitation. Adapt your strategy until you get the desired result.

Time is also of the essence here, because a small deviation of a couple of degrees in the beginning of a sailing trip could mean hundreds of miles at its end.
For this, Scrum gives you 4 formal opportunities for Evaluation and Adaptation: Sprint Planning Meetings, Daily Scrums, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospectives.

Finally, and adding to this three legged creature a necessary fourth pillar, I’d say that for this methodology to really work at its best, we have to ensure that we’re improving ourselves all the time, we must Rise our Standards, we must turn our preferences or possibilities into absolute certain decisions; where we cut everything else out except that decision. If we can do that, if we can commit to a constant and never ending improvement, we can turn this methodology into a success formula to reach any destination.

 

 


 


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Dan C. Pedemonte
Agile Coach . Human Potential Strategist

 

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