Scrum Guide 2017. Some reflections part I
Juan Andrés Ochoa
Juan Andrés Ochoa
Fundador y CEO de Castor Evolución digital. Autor, podcaster, speaker, músico, navegante y filósofo novato.
ShuHaRi aplicado a la guía Scrum

More than a word of Japanese origin, ShuHaRi is a concept that refers to that learning path that every teacher must follow. Using the word teacher not for someone who teaches, but for someone who achieves true mastery of experience and knowledge.

The deconstruction of the word results in each of the necessary stages before reaching mastery: first you learn (Shu), then you unlearn (Ha) and finally you transcend (Ri).

Taking the ShuHaRi path as a reference, I started to re-analyze the Scrum 2017 guide and I had some thoughts that I want to share with you¹.

This is the first in a series of installments on the subject.

“Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering and sustaining complex products”

It does not speak of projects, but of products. I love this because instead of locking ourselves in an iron triangle of scope, resources and time, it invites us to deliver products that must generate the maximum possible value.

I also like that from the beginning it proposes the development of complex products. Those who are familiar with the Cynefin model will remember that complex problems (in this case the products) will have unpredictable results². Why? Because when we make many products, the results can be very different from what we imagined, sometimes due to changes in customer specifications or due to market requirements.

“Scrum Light Weighted, Simple to understand and difficult to master”

Like so many things in life it is easy to understand, difficult to apply. Eating healthy, putting ourselves in the place of others or putting temperance into practice are good examples of this premise. We are clear about what we should do, but it is difficult for us to put it into practice.

The essence of scrum is a Small team of people. The individual team is highly flexible and adaptative

Belonging to small teams can mean a fight against the ego, one of the most frequent obstacles in agility changes. In a promotion-driven society, the notion of job escalation is often confused with being authoritarian or establishing power relationships with many subordinates.

This leads me to think of the second stage of the ShuHaRi path, which refers to unlearning; In this case, it is about deconstructing some preconceived ideas and understanding in another way what climbing and belonging to small teams represents.

Three pillars uphold every implementation of empirical process control: Transparency, inspection and adaptation

  • Transparency is related to the LEAN Jidoka principle, which proposes self-control for each process³. If the purpose is to guarantee quality throughout the flow of value generation, it is necessary to be transparent to detect and show the defects or qualities present in any aspect of our work. A new battle against the ego and the possibility of deconstructing, once again, what we have learned, like that preconceived idea that insists that it is wrong to show mistakes. Keep in mind that this does not make us more vulnerable, as we are not infallible.
  • Inspection and adaptation: two of the reasons why Scrum and agility have earned a place in the way of conceiving work, organization and why not say it, life itself. What do both concepts refer to? If anyone has heard of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity)4, they will know that Volatility, Uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are a very accurate description of our reality. This means that work, organizations and the world in general require more inspection and adaptation and, as I expressed at the beginning of this reflection, more complex products are needed.

Final thoughts

Assuming an attitude of humility, battling our egos and deconstructing what has been learned will be essential elements in the transformation processes. In terms of the ShuHaRi path it is about learning, unlearning and transcending.

To deepen the project-to-product approach, I recommend reading (In Spanish):


¹ Scrum is a management process that reduces complexity in product development to meet customer needs. Promotes team collaboration to achieve complex product development.

² The Cynefin model represents the five possible situations in an organization (Simple, complicated, complex, chaotic and disorderly) and the way in which they should be acted upon.

³ Jidoka is a methodology of Japanese origin that means: Autonomization of defects or Automation with a human approach. From the Lean Manufacturing point of view, Jidoka’s main objective is to provide processes with quality self-control mechanisms, so that in the event of an abnormal situation, the process stops automatically or manually, managing to reduce the number of defective units progressing through the process.

VUCA is an acronym used to describe or reflect volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of conditions and situations. The notion of VUCA was created by the U.S. Army War College to describe the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the world that emerged after the end of the Cold War. The term began to be used widely in the 1990s and is now used in some fields of business strategy.

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