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Defined vs Empirical

Defined Processes

  • Every piece of work is completely understood
  • Defined process can be started and allowed to run with same results every time
  • They provide repeatability and predictability

Empirical Processes

  • Expects the unexpected
  • Because the processes are imperfectly defined, generate unpredictable and unrepeatable output
  • Control is exercised thru inspection and adaptation

Scrum and Empirical Process Control

  • Scrum is founded on Empirical Process control theory (Empiricism)
  • Empirical processes are the ones which are imperfectly defined and generate unpredictable and unrepeatable outputs
  • Empirical model is made successful by frequently inspecting and adapting the processes

Three Pillars of Empirical Process Control


  • Significant aspects of process must be visible to those responsible for outcome
  • Transparency requires those aspects be defined by a common standard so observers share a common understanding of what is being seen


  • Scrum users must frequently inspect Scrum artifacts and progress towards a Sprint goal
  • Detect undesirable variances
  • Inspections should NOT be too frequent


  • The process or the material being processed must be adjusted
  • Adjustment should be made as soon as possible and prevent further deviation