Project Management

Shu Ha Ri at Disciplined Agile

From the Manifesting Business Agility Blog
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This blog concerns itself with organizations moving to business agility—the quick realization of value predictably and sustainably, and with high quality. It includes all aspects of this—from the business stakeholders through ops and support. Topics will be far-reaching but will mostly discuss FLEX, Flow, Lean-Thinking, Lean-Management, Theory of Constraints, Systems Thinking, Test-First and Agile.

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I have long railed against the misuse of Shu Ha Ri (follow, diverge, transcend) in the Agile community. Following preset practices is risky since no one size fits all. Diverging from them after gaining knowledge sounds good but no framework provide guidance on how to do this. Shu Ha Ri is often used as an excuse for an approach not being sufficiently complete

At Disciplined Agile we use Shu Ha Ri differently. The original intent of Alistair Cockburn introducing the phrase to the Agile community was that first one must learn basic practices before branching out on their own. Martin Fowler remarked “The fundamental idea here is that when teaching a concept, you have to tailor the style of teaching to where the learner is in their understanding & that progression follows a common pattern”

DA’s toolkit approach has people follow a way that has been created for them. Later divergence is guided by the multitude of options provided. Transcendence is supported by being based on Lean theory

DA uses Shu Ha Ri to indicate levels of learning – beginner, intermediate, expert. As people progress through Shu Ha Ri they are adding credibility to their DA certifications, increasing their ability to use context to choose pragmatic solutions for their clients.

Posted on: July 05, 2020 12:02 PM | Permalink

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