Scrum and Kata | Scrum.org

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ATK PosterThe latest EBM (Evidence-Based Management) from September 2020 makes a reference to a Kata. That is new and noteworthy. The new EBM guide introduces the reader to the world of scientific thinking through the lens of the Improvement Kata popularized by Mike Rother.  This is great news for both communities as EBM and Kata apply scientific thinking, experimentation and focus.

The Improvement Kata outlines the steps needed to experiment toward the next target condition which ultimately results into solving a bigger challenge. Thinking of a big challenge when transforming an organization, I was looking for guidance and practical ways and came across the Kata movement. Even though the Kata can be very helpful for creating an environment for successful EBM, I realized that we can use a Kata also in an agile transformation.  

I decided to give the Kata an agile “spin” for a variety of reasons: We were not only interested in using the Improvement Kata for any transformation, we wanted to use it for an agile transformation. The original improvement kata was neutral in terms of agility and we needed to fill in some blanks. The challenge is a given, as we want to become more agile. In addition, we wanted to make sure that while executing the Kata, we would be applying techniques and tools that would foster an agile culture. I know it might sound strange, but there are a ton of agile transformations currently underway that uses a waterfall, top-down, command and control process as the transformation process. That is odd and can’t be right.

We gave the Kata a specific name and we associated a series of tools and processes that would leave behind an agile mindset. It is called the Agile Transformation Kata. This Kata uses EBM to measure and provide evidence for an agile transformation. The experiments taken during the Kata might lead to more or better Scrum inside an organization. In that case the ATK serves as a wrapper for introducing agile processes including Scrum.  The reference of a Kata in the EBM guide is a wonderful hand-shake between the two communities. It shows the universal application of a Kata and how the Kata in return can build bridges to agile processes. 

Would you like me to walk you through the Agile Transformation Kata? You can also order the Kata poster that goes along with it. 

 

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