Why is inspection without adaption considered pointless?

Last post 03:40 pm May 28, 2021
by Ben Jarvis
4 replies
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06:35 pm May 26, 2021

Hello folks,

I am just starting to work myself through the Scrum-Guide 2020 and I am a bit confused about the following passage:

“Inspection enables adaptation. Inspection without adaptation is considered pointless. [...]“ (p. 4)

Therefore, in a scenario, in which we inspected a workflow and concluded that everything worked fine - this inspection would be pointless since we do not have to adapt to anything, right?

In my opinion this sounds a bit confusing, because it would mean that a future, possibly unknown adaption is a necessary condition for the past inspection.

However, I would argue that an inspection is a necessary condition for an adaption to ensure that we are changing the correct things. And if everything works well, then it was still useful to check that.

Did I miss something?

Kind regards & thanks in advance!

07:19 pm May 26, 2021

Therefore, in a scenario, in which we inspected a workflow and concluded that everything worked fine - this inspection would be pointless since we do not have to adapt to anything, right?

No more than running regressive test suites that pass is pointless. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Rather, it offers you the opportunity to now look harder and deeper. Being able to address new uncertainties, leveraging a foundation of knowledge that is incrementally established, is adaptation. There will be other things to seek out and improve.

09:16 pm May 26, 2021

My interpretation of that statement is that doing the activity of inspection without the possibility of adaption is pointless.  Does it mean that every time you inspect you will find an opportunity to adapt?  Not at all.  It means that if you take the effort to inspect you must be willing to expend the effort to also adapt.  

08:02 pm May 27, 2021

Scrum relies on continuous loops of inspection and adaptation.

If adaptation never takes place, it suggests either:

  • there is a failure to apply useful adaptation, or:
  • adaptation is never needed, and so a framework to enable empirical decision making, such as Scrum, is obsolete.
03:40 pm May 28, 2021

Personally, I would look at this more broadly - it's entirely possible that you may inspect the increment with stakeholders internally, and no adaptation can be seen; but repeat that inspection of the increment with end users - there'll be a higher probability of commentary that could lead to adaptation.

 

The only reason we inspect is to adapt; otherwise the inspection is just waste