In his article “Why the C-suite isn’t interested in experimentation and how you could change it” @arjanharing discusses his experience talking to C-level execs about how running experiments could accelerate innovation. Go read it, it’s well written and gives some worthwhile insights.
When I read it, I immediately started thinking about the touch points of Arjan’s ideas with Agile ways of working. Especially in Scrum, which “is founded on empirical process control theory, or empiricism.” In Agile, we’d like to see every Product Backlog Item as a small experiment, with a testable hypothesis about the (business) value the item should yield when delivered by the Development Team into the hands of the customer/consumer/user.
And in Agile/Scrum we also have the challenge to get management on board to facilitate the people doing the Development work to be able to continuously inspect and adapt their product as well as all other things related to their work (process, technology, environment, etc). Just like Arjan needs to get the C-level into a Lean Startup mode to see more reason to experiment.
As Scrum Masters & Coaches I believe it is our duty to help Product Owners as well as the C-level execs and anything in between to try and fill their Backlog with as many experiments as possible. It may very well be that the data that you need to decide whether an experiment worked or failed, is not always yet available. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying.
So, keep on helping the teams think of the work to be done as experiments, what do we think the company, its customers and other stakeholders will win from this change, and how can we measure (test) empirically whether our hypothesis is validated or has to be adapted or discarded.