Empiricism — The Art of Doing Less to Achieve More
Would you build something no one needs if you know upfront?
„What did I spend so much effort for?“, he pondered in despair.
Last months he spent most of his days working on this one thing. The work defined these months. A vision is what got him started. He had an idea that could make the life of many people easier. And he spent hour after hour to plan out this project, develop it, and prepare its launch. Almost six months had passed since then. Six months. „Wasted“, he thought.
Now, he was looking at the page with page views and registrations. He felt like a fool. All the work for nothing. He reloaded the page, again and again. After several times reloading the page, he convinced himself to let go. To let go and wait. He decided to give it some time.
Tell me, how often in life did you have to change directions?
Like, when you planned to go to Italy this year and then a pandemic unfolded. In business, it happens even more often. The meeting you prepared yourself for? Cancelled. The initiative you wanted to drive? Changed priorities. The deadline on the critical path? Missed. Life doesn’t always work out as planned. Changed decisions, missed opportunities, sunk cost. Even failure in life is inevitable. Ask Edison, how often he tried before he brought light into our evenings and nights.
Failure feels terrible. No one likes to fail. Even worse it is, if we could have prevented the failure from happening. But if we fail, wouldn’t it be nice to fail fast and learn from it?
That is the idea of empiricism in process control.
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
Empiricism is a theory with a simple premise. It says: knowledge comes primarily or only from experience. The idea is almost as old as mankind. It has become the foundation of modern science and helps us understand the world. To learn how the world ticks. In science, we conduct experiments to prove or dismantle our hypothesis. In Scrum and other agile approaches, we use a similar approach. We build something to confirm our assumptions about what provides values to…