The Empirical Process and Collective Learning

1 April 2014


As everyone knows, the Scrum framework is based on the empirical process. I'd like to write briefly about how collective learning applies to the empirical process.

Two aspects of collective learning are important here:
  • Collective learning from Sprint 0 to the current sprint
  • Collective learning as a team, even if individual learnings come through different team members
While we do inspect and adapt sprint after sprint, there is always a chance that we might make the mistakes of Sprint 1 in Sprint N. To avoid that, we need to make sure collective learning is also a part of the empirical process. Especially while doing such activities as estimation, we can inspect and adapt regarding challenges faced and technical issues, but we might miss out as far as collective learning goes.

As a team, we need to keep track of the learning from all the sprints to make sure we are succeeding in the empirical process. Collective learning involves learning as a team. Learning by one member should be learning for the whole team. The environment should be set such that the team members share their individual learning with each other.

The way to apply collective learning in Scrum: The sprint retrospective not only gives us the opportunity to learn from the previous sprint but it lets us learn from the first sprint. We can attempt to keep track of really important learning from the past so that it can be revisited in the future.

As part of the empirical process, we need to make a real effort to capture and maintain our collective learning from the very beginning, and learn it and review it together, as a team.


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