Shu Ha Ri

It’s great when something clicks.  Personally, professionally, for your team and for an organization.  When a team gets into a performing place, it’s pretty awesome to see.  As a Scrum Master, it’s rewarding beyond words.  The first time it happened for me, I wasn’t even aware of what had happened.  I was worried for myself because the team didn’t really need me any longer and year-end performance management was looming.  The team didn’t me.  Wait.  The team doesn’t need me.  WOOT!!!!!  They did it!

In this Agile transformation, I see teams going their own way right off the bat.  Then, I hear them talking about the “overhead” of being Agile and that Stand Up isn’t helpful to them at all.  “It’s just another way to micro-manage us”.   They would be more productive if not for Agile.  Agile isn’t working.

Shu – Follow the rule.  Follow the rule until you know it, understand it and it works.

Ha – Question the rule.  You understand the value and start to formulate your own views.  You try different approaches.

Ri – Be the rule.  You have mastered it.

If teams would go through the effort of learning Scrum and Agile, I believe they would feel differently.  Scratch that.  I KNOW they would feel differently.  Teams can get to Ri, but not before they go through Shu and Ha.  As a Scrum Master, there’s an obligation you have to your team to teach them the rule and help them understand it.  Be supportive when they begin questioning it and trying different things on for size.

When starting out, making sure the Shu state isn’t overlooked is critical.  If Agile isn’t working for the organization, maybe it’s because it was never really even attempted.