Feedback was recently posed on the Scrum.org community forums regarding the Webster-ish definition provided for Scrum by Ken and Jeff. If you don’t recall from the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Overview definition reads:
Scrum (n): A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.
Mario Čop, in his feedback, suggests problems cannot be adaptive. He provides some definitions of his own to remove the subjective influences around the words “adapt”, “adaptive” and “problem.” In the end, Mario says:
I’d say that the process of solving problems can be adaptive. When solving problems you can have adaptive approach and adaptive execution of it, but it makes no sense saying that problems itself are adaptive.
Whether successfully conveyed or not, the intent is that complex problems are not always clearly understood. As we approach and attempt to solve a complex problem, our understanding of that problem becomes clearer. What this means is that as we examine a problem, our understanding of it adapts. In this way we must reevaluate both the problem and the solution. Continuous planning allows for this dynamic where a plan alone constrains learning.
Scrum’s Sprint, as I’ve said before, provides a balance between space for creative problem solving and focused decision making. The outcome of a sprint allows us to reevaluate our understanding of the problem space and whether we are taking the product and organization in the appropriate direction. Here we see how we can utilize the Scrum framework to embody the Agile value of Responding to change over following a plan.