Where are we with the stakeholders? Shu-Ha-Ri? Exploring phase

chuzzeteAgile, Stakeholders1 Comment

In Japanese martial arts there is a concept which describes the stages of learning to mastery named Shuhari:

  • Shu (?) “Novice or beginner; narrowly following give practices” – traditional wisdom -learning fundamentals, techniques, proverbs.
  • ha (?) “detach, digress, following, but extending, perfecting, occasionally breaking the rules” — breaking with tradition — detachment from the illusions of self.
  • ri (?) “leave, separate, perfecting to creating your own practices” — transcendence — there are no techniques or proverbs, all moves are natural, becoming one with spirit alone without clinging to forms; transcending the physical.

The concept has been used in several ways to help teams during their continuous improvement process, for example, to learn how to be Agile when developing software. Being Agile means to me: ” to have the ability to act or move. Be ready to improve, inspect what it has been done and adapt people reactions and behaviour, continuously as a way to have more fun when collaborating and interacting with others”.

I have this crazy idea:= What if when teaching teams on how to be more Agile, we use Shu-Ha-Ri not only to teach them but also to give to stakeholders those tools, that we need to get out the best from them and from teams as well, all in parallel?

Reasons to explore potential answers to this particular topic:

– Having stakeholders participating and giving real feedback to agile teams, could get direct results over team productivity.

– Having stakeholders within the learning process, as we (Scrum Master/Agile Coaches) use to do with teams, would create shared understanding of how things are done,so they will get enough confidence to invest more money in agile development teams within the organization.

– If we (Scrum Masters/Agile Coaches) help stakeholders to grow, at the same pace that the team does it, I’m sure that the organization will get their money back faster.

– Because is really fun to work in a fully collaborative environment, where all people understand what and why we are doing things in the Agile way, were we can all contribute to get better results, if we understand how to play our roles.

Easy? Far from it.

Worthy? Yeeess !!! 🙂

– I’ve seen a couple of stakeholders smiling and feeling proud about their teams, after walking out from a sprint review meeting, where their voices have been heard through Score cards for example.

– I feel that Scrum Masters/Agile Coaches and Product Owners will appreciate to get stakeholders on the same page, like the team does, in terms of the Agile journey.

– I’m convinced that having a step by step guide to level stakeholders in their Agile journey, would definitely change the way of how the cultural shift required to be Agile is done within organizations in the near future.

– I believe that even if the stakeholder is not explicitly considered a specific role (fully described) in most popular agile methods like scrum for example, it is something to considerate in order to get better results out agile projects.

– I like to be challenged and get into new things 🙂

What do you think ?

Well, whatever you have in mind please share it, it would be fun to know that I’m not the only one exploring this side of the development process.

Thank you for helping me out with the exploration phase, by sharing your thoughts.

All the best,



– Shuhari Applied to Agile Leadership – www.agilealliance.org

– Mastering Agile with SHU-HA-RI – tracks.roojoom.com

– Alistair Cockburn – ShuHaRi

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.