Scrum is built upon Empiricism. The three pillars of empiricism are firmly embedded in various parts of Scrum. Which is why we spend a serious amount of attention to Empiricism (and complexity) in any Scrum related training. So if your Scrum feels like a waste of time or ineffective, start inspection at the basics. How is your Scrum serving empiricism?

Empiricism in Scrum


The Scrum artifacts should serve transparency.

  • The Increment (the constantly improved Product we are developing);
  • The Product Backlog (list of all that may be valuable to do in the future);
  • The Sprint Backlog (list of items that we are expecting to deliver this Sprint).

Scrum events

The Scrum events are for inspection & adaptation of the artifacts & the process itself.

  • Sprint – consistent length of this timebox provides a steady rhythm and its scope (made transparent in the Sprint Backlog) is subject to inspection & adaptation whenever needed;
  • Sprint Planning – Scrum Team inspects the Product Backlog, the latest Product Increment, projected Development Team capacity & past performance.
  • Daily Scrum;
  • Sprint Review;
  • Sprint Retrospective.

Scrum roles

The Scrum roles are about accountability of empiricism in certain distinct areas (to prevent conflict of interest a.o.).

  • Product Owner: Value;
  • Development Team: done increment;
  • Scrum Master: scrum & continuous improvement.

Scrum without Empiricism is not Effective

There is no sense in doing Scrum without understanding Empiricism. Does your team get this? Your Product Owner? Your Development Team members? Does your Scrum Master know what Empiricism entails and how it is fundamental to continuous improvement in Scrum? If not, discuss this (for instance in a Sprint Retrospective) with your Scrum Team and build from there.


This post is under the ‘published draft’ category. This category is for sharing stuff earlier on and preventing myself from writer/publish block (perfect is the enemy of done). The original idea for this post came from a Twitter discussion with some awesome Agile & Scrum practitioners. See Sjoerdly’s tweet on Empiricism in Scrum and check out the related content on Twitter. Please let me know your thoughts, reactions or questions to this content and help make it better. I love to learn together!

One thought to “No Scrum without Empiricism; know your basics”

  • Getjan Lammers

    Sjoerd…..using icons for artefacts will help strnengthen your story. My contribution to reflect is that inspection & adaptation are the most forceful activities to relate to empiriscism (which i find a horrible word). To start the discussion about n ism is the tricky thing. how much of theoretical blabla do you want to use to help people understand…in fact a a contradiction with what empiricosm is. Let your team members experience this empirical approach. Cheerio


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: