In a post that I wrote earlier this week (read it here), I used the analogy of setting the temperature inside Australian homes with running a business. They're poorly insulated, and the "weather inside" can therefore be considered complex. Its business analogy is operating in a fast-changing and complex environment. Contrast this with incredibly well-insulated homes in the Netherlands, where the temperature remains rather constant. Its business equivalent is one of stability, where the market conditions don't change fast, or often.

Now, some readers might look at this analogy and think, okay, I'll just build my business like Dutch homes, so that the "business weather" remains constant and I don't need to use Scrum. It sounds complicated anyway, with its "Scrum Masters" and "Product Owners". If you think that, then I didn't make my point clearly enough. My apologies. It also shows the limitation of using metaphors. (Having said that, some businesses actually do operate in a relatively stable environment. Most don't, though.)

The original metaphor, which I linked to in my article, is used to explain empiricism by virtue of setting the temperature ("setpoint", "goal") inside a room. You then use actual measurements (or knowledge about the world) to tune it by either turning on the aircon, or the heater (or do nothing if you're near the setpoint). Empiricism is a control loop that works using actual information, not forecasts or estimates (which seem to be pretty much the same thing, but I won't go into that).

You would use Scrum to implement a control loop that operates on the business based on actual information, not forecasts or estimates. (I thought I'd repeat this to drive my point home). For the control loop to function, you'll need a setpoint (the goal) and regular updates. In control theory, the delay between a change in output and when its effect are first measured at the input is called dead time. Thinking of the thermostat: when it turns on the heating, it doesn't immediately get warmer. It takes time to warm up. The dead time is the delay between turning on the heating and measuring the temperature actually going up.

Now back to the real (business) world, which is complex and messy almost by definition. Scrum reduces dead time by having short feedback loops: less than a month, but shorter is better. When it comes to your own business, don't ask yourself whether your business needs empiricism (it does), rather ask yourself the level of inspection it needs. In other words: how much dead time can you afford without running your business into the ground? But definitely don't build your business like a Dutch house, it's just not a thing.