Using Double Loop Learning on Key Scrum Concepts to Improve Scrum

Chris Argyris clarified that there are two levels to learning, which he described as single-loop learning and double-loop learning. Here are his definitions:

  1. Single-loop learning: Learning that changes strategies of action (i.e. the how) in ways that leave the values of a theory of action unchanged (i.e. the why)
  2. Double-loop learning: Learning that results in a change in the values of theory-in-use (i.e. the why), as well as in its strategies and assumptions (i.e. the how)

While double-loop learning is often applied to Scrum practices, e.g., doing requirements, Scrum insists that it not apply to its immutable roles, events, artifacts, and rules. Doing so makes whatever you come up with “is not Scrum.”

One must take care to go beyond Scrum’s boundaries and not merely abandon a key aspect of Scrum. Scrum org defines “ScrumBut” as “that Scrum has exposed a dysfunction that is contributing to the problem, but is too hard to fix. A ScrumBut retains the problem while modifying Scrum to make it invisible so that the dysfunction is no longer a thorn in the side of the team.”

By using double-loop learning on key Scrum concepts we can remove the necessity of their having to be immutable. This enables us to find better practices that remove our impediments.

See all my posts on Scrumbut.

To learn more about changing your practices go here.

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