I came across a couple of interesting tweets over the weekend
(Scrum is) more defined rather than empirical process. Agile in name only. scrum, not agile. not as it was prior to scrum. lost art.
Scrum is prescriptive and defined rather than empirical. it seeks to be guidance for work it's too far removed from to understand.
This took me back since Scrum is derived from an empirical closed loop control system developed in the USAF by Col. John Boyd. There's a recent paper "What Lessons Can the Agile Community Learn from A Maverick Fighter Pilot?" by Steve Adolph. I was puzzled by the tweet, asked why that was the opinion, but didn't get a response. As a start, here's a resource for Col. Boyds papers.
No need to explain why OODA is the basis of Scrum, here's a much better post - OODA: The Mindset of Scrum.
The OODA concept is very simple:
- Observation: the collection of data by means of the senses. Measuring progress in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers.
- Orientation: the analysis and synthesis of data to form one’s current perspective. Comparing this data to what is expected at this point in time.
- Decision: the determination of a course of action based on that current perspective. With the variance between plan and actual, what are we going to do to get back on plan?
- Action: the physical playing-out of the decision. Take the needed action to get back on target.
Boyd's presentation "A Discourse on Winning and Losing Introducing core ideas & themes Of Boyd’s ‘Theory of intellectual evolution and growth,"was presented at “Patterns of Conflict” at the U.S. Marine Amphibious Warfare School in June 1980. Here's some more Boyd from the Boyd Library. A good book on Boyd is Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
In our Software Intensive System of Systems domain, this is the definition of Agile we use from the now-Secretary of Defense Dr. Carter
So when we hear anything about the current state of Agile or even that Scrum is NOT empirical and needs to be replaced, ask what new process is being suggested that will meet Dr. Carter's definition?
…the OODA loop sketch and related insights represent an evolving, open-ended, far from equilibrium process of self-organization, emergence and natural selection. This is a good starting point for not only Scrum and other agile methods, that can be used to test the validity of any method suggested to replace or augment the current agile software development processes.
Assessing the outcomes of the feedforward and feedback loops is the basis of all Closed Loop control system. (See link below on Closed Loop Control). Making decisions in the presence of this emerging uncertainty requires making estimates of the impacts or outcomes of any decision. There's simply no way out of this principle when making decisions in an emerging domain with uncertainty (reducible or irreducible). Anyone suggesting otherwise either hasn't the knowledge of closed loop control systems or is try to sell you something that violates the principles of closed loop control, microeconomics of decision making, or managerial finance. Don't buy it. Learn to manage in the presence of uncertainty using principles not persoanl ancedotes.