Validated Learning

Validated Learning
Validated Learning is the use of feedback to inform and improve future actions. It is important to improve an organization's ability to undergo enterprise agile transformation. This improvement is the primary responsibility of the Transformation Rollout Team at any given level or area of the business. Those teams decide what changes should go on their Transformation Backlogs and what the priorities should be. They decide where good agile patterns needs to be applied in regard to each change, and how and for what purpose, and what benefits may be expected from doing so.

Each change on the backlog is given Acceptance Criteria by the Transformation Rollout Team. These criteria stipulate the conditions that must be satisfied in order for the change to be implemented. Different change items may have different acceptance criteria even when the same patterns are being applied. For example, if the Limited WIP pattern is being coached to a particular Delivery Team, a suitable criterion might be that only 3 items can be in progress at a time. Other teams may be allocated different WIP limits. The more appropriate and better focused the acceptance criteria, the greater the chances are that the benefits of the pattern will be leveraged.

The Transformation Rollout Team must therefore determine whether or not the Acceptance Criteria are suitable for the intended target. This evaluation should be done on an ongoing basis, and at least once every Transformation Heartbeat for each change that is being rolled out. This determination is made on the basis of actionable metrics.
  • If the metrics indicate that the expected benefits have been achieved then the change may be retired.
  • If the benefits have not been achieved, regardless of whether or not the Acceptance Criteria have been met, then further work remains to be done. The Rollout Team can replan the Transformation Backlog, and the Acceptance Criteria for relevant changes may be improved.
Note that if the benefits have not been attained even though the Acceptance Criteria have been satisfied, then the change should still be retired. The lesson is that the Acceptance Criteria were inappropriate for the change target. A more appropriate change, with improved Acceptance Criteria and possibly implementing different patterns or practices, should be added to the backlog and prioritised.


Empirical change, transformation feedback loop