Shu-Ha-Ri & SAFe


In this 90 minute webinar, we discussed the application of the martial arts learning paradigm to the transformation journey associated with the Scaled Agile Framework.

I often refer to SAFe as a very Shu-able framework meaning that it is built to be taught and learned. However, practitioners can get stuck in SHU if they don't evolve their practice. In this webinar, we will explore the Shu-Ha-Ri evolution with SAFe as the starting point.

  • Getting to Shu with SAFe: Learning the Basics
  • Stuck in Shu: SAFe is “just a framework”
  • Some Ha Adjustments to SAFe: Tweaking the Basics
  • Ri and SAFe: Transcending the Basics

SAFe _ Shu-Ha-Ri 8

Pages from SAFe _ Shu-Ha-Ri

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You can watch the webinar recording here.




Getting to Shu

Achieving a high performing team of team doing product development

Stuck in Shu

Smells indicating that the framework is being followed as a prescription such as:

  • Using normalized story points beyond the initial PI
  • Breaking down features into stories in PI Planning meeting

Some tweaks on the safe basics:

  • Quarterly business reviews – SAFe sets the cadence
  • Product Owner Council – when the hierarchical Product Manager / Product Owner relationship doesn’t work
  • Metrics-driven continuous improvement at all levels of SAFe – an emerging trend
  • Communities of practice
  • Integrating SAFe / LeSS planning & review approach

Moving beyond the frameworks

  • SAFe is really good for a steady state development process – when do you swarm?
  • Thoughts from Spotify – Lean – Agile Center of Excellence (LACE) are good for Shu (learning); communities of practice are good for RI
  • Business Agility – approaches such as Hamel’s Micro-Enterprises flip the hierarchy
  • The No-Estimate movement (Tom Perry)
  • Dynamics reteaming (Tom Perry)


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