The World of Lean and Agile: Evolution, Map and Territory

By Andrea Espíndola Pedro Olaya

In the blog post of Nov 26 2013 by Maurice McGinley he explains Lean Start-up, Design Thinking & Agile Methodologies in terms of a particular feedback loop known in the philosophical theory of interpretation as the Hermeneutic Circle. The idea of this circle is explained in wikipedia as follows:

“The hermeneutic circle (Germanhermeneutischer Zirkel) describes the process of understanding a text hermeneutically. It refers to the idea that one’s understanding of the text as a whole is established by reference to the individual parts and one’s understanding of each individual part by reference to the whole. Neither the whole text nor any individual part can be understood without reference to one another, and hence, it is a circle. However, this circular character of interpretation does not make it impossible to interpret a text; rather, it stresses that the meaning of a text must be found within its cultural, historical, and literary context.”

Visually it takes this form:

Hermeneutic Web

The analogy is to a traveler equiped with a paper map that is navigating in an unknown territory to her. In order to reach her destination she must go back and forth between the map and the territory and constantly update her understanding of both, the model (map) and reality (territory).  This process is shown in the figure below.

Map Territory Web

Instead of going into the depths of interpretation theory we attempt to explain the core of these feedback loops using an analogy with the widely known Theory of Evolution.


We see

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