The Shu Ha Ri Ladder of Attainment and its Role in Agile Scrum Training


The Shu Ha Ri Ladder of Attainment and its Role in Agile Scrum Training

Agile scrum training, as a concept, is as multi-layered as it is effective, having proven successful in the field that is the modern business landscape. For IT managers and more particularly, Agile SCRUM managers, it has been the gateway to organizational excellence and has spelled tremendous increases in product/service quality over the years.

The Shu Ha Ri concept, or ladder, is something that’s integral to the practical implementation of Agile principals. It makes for the basis of Agile adoption, from the perspective of the teams that are adopting Agile principals, and the Agile manager who is leading the effort.

In this article, we will discuss what Shu Ra Hi is, and the role of the concept in Agile scrum training.

The Shu Ha Ri Ladder of Learning Progression

In essence, Shu Ha Ri is the progression of learning, within which the learner first starts learning and then gradually progresses onwards until they are proficient in their skill. The term is based on a traditional Japanese martial arts concept, used to detail how much of an expert the student is becoming, through several stages of learning.

While the concept has existed for many years, it is only recently that it has been related to the general learning cycle, more specifically, for Agile scrum training. For the organization that is recently adopting Agile principles, there is a lot of learning to be done, and that too in stages, since there are various intrinsic qualities to Agile scrum that need to be integrated into the skill-sets of the teams involved.

This ties the concept in to the Shu Ha Ri methodology, within the Agile environment.

Definition and Application of Shu Ha Ri

The Japanese term roughly translates into, “learn first, then detach, and lastly, transcend”. Being associated with the martial arts, it is, of course, deeply integrated into the student’s journey from a complete novice, to a master of the chosen art.

In the Shu stage, teams practically adopt agile principles, and function according to the guidelines set during Agile scrum training. This allows them to become entwined with Agile concepts at the essential level, so that everything they do reflects the principles as they learned them.

Next, during the Ha stage, after we have fully absorbed Agile principles, we begin to make innovations, while functioning as we did during the previous stage. It is important to note that teams will perpetually be in the Shu stage, regardless of the learning they have received. However, to an extent, the teams may break the previous modus operandi and work in a more effective and efficient fashion, as Agile dictates.

And lastly, in the Ri stage, the teams going through the learning process completely let go of old practices and adopt Agile principles fully. Additionally, they begin to reform the way they function, the way they tackle incoming challenges, the way they collaborate, and how they plan for the future. Incidentally, they do all of the above without overstepping the boundaries of Agile, and without affecting the performance of either their teammates or other teams working towards the same goals.

How Shu Ha Ri Integrates with Agile Training

The basic idea behind the Shu Ha Ri ladder is that training should be tuned to how the learner understands best, and it needs to follow a pattern which allows the teams receiving the training to naturally let go of old values in favor of Agile principles.

The earliest stages of Agile training need to focus on repeating a series of practical steps until they are engrained in the teams’ work ethic itself. This does not mean that processes need to become monotonous; it only requires the principles to be followed at all times. Next, the focus needs to shift towards understanding the principles more deeply, in order for teams to start innovating on their end. Finally, self-directed innovation needs to be encouraged, so that the teams can put the principles to practical use, and improve the bottom line of the organization along.

Shu Ha Ri is just one of the methodologies that make up Agile Scrum training, and it can be used as a basis for Agile and DevOps managers to coach their teams and implement change. Once all the steps are followed to the letter, and the teams begin to adopt and innovate in tune with the learning, managers can be sure that their Agile training efforts are proving fruitful, and the bottom line of their companies are bound to improve.

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