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Shu-Ha-Ri is a Japanese concept which describes the stages of learning. Originally used as a martial arts concept, Shu-Ha-Ri can be applied to any form of learning. Shu, Ha and Ri translate to “Obey”, “Digress” and “Separate” respectively or “Learn”, “Detach” and “Transcend”.

It is believed that learning is best effective when it is a staged process.  Learning done with Big-Bang approach can turn into chaos easily. The idea of learning based on phases makes the whole process more meaningful, simpler & fruitful.The learning phases according to Shu Ha Ri emphasize on following something as is (Shu), then tweaking a bit to suit one’s needs (Ha) and slowly transforming, expanding and evolving it (Ri).  Ri cannot be attained without taking the journey of the preceding phases Shu and Ha.

Agile is also all about learning and evolving continuously throughout the process. If  done using a methodical approach, Agile will bear the real benefits and results.



Shu : Shu phase will mark the adoption of Agile practises by an organisation. The goal will be to learn a particular practise like SCRUM and follow it without any modification. Mixing up too many things or trying to do lot of variations will only make the path tedious. It can also result in not realizing the actual advantages of the process.

Ha: Once a process is followed To a T, adapting can be accommodated to know the best fit for an organisation.  Its logical to have deep understanding of a process and understand what is working and what is not before trying to branch out and try variations. In Ha stage, organisations try to figure out what works for others and learn from them.

Ri: Ri is an advanced stage where the learning is mature enough to give birth to innovations. Here, the organisations evaluate their own experience and learn from them. An organisation can be called truly Agile when it has reached the Ri stage.