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Mastering a new skill: Mindset vs. Framework


As an Agile coach, I've learned quite a lot about project management, teamwork, communication, and leadership. I use many of those skills daily, whether it's in my personal life or professional life. When I teach people about Agile, I tell them that it's an umbrella term and can refer to a mindset or a framework (the most popular framework being Scrum). Sometimes people want to skip over using a framework and just learn the mindset. However, with any new skill, it's difficult to really develop the mindset without first following some sort of framework or system. The Shu-Ha-Ri Mastery Model Do you remember when you first learned to cook? You probably followed a recipe and measured the exact ingredients that were called for, leveling off your teaspoons or measuring cups, so everything would be “just right.” As you became a more experienced cook, you learned that you could tweak the recipe a bit to your taste. You like things sweet, so you add a little extra sugar. Or maybe you experiment with a substitution or two, leaving out that green pepper, or adding a secret spice. Finally, when you’re a chef, you create new recipes all your own. You have enough of a keen palette to know what foods work well together and you’re not afraid to experiment with entirely new combinations. There’s a mastery model used in martial arts called “Shu-Ha-Ri” that describes this progression. In the “Shu” stage, you’re learning the recipe or following a model. You tweak or adapt the model in the “Ha” stage, and ultimately, when you’ve fully mastered the skill, you no longer need to follow a model and you can use your skills to create entirely new masterpieces, using your unique talents. When I learned of this mastery model, I found that it could be applied to just about every skill. You start as a beginner by following a ‘recipe,’ pattern, or system of some sort. Once you know the basics, you can start to deviate and adapt to your particular context. Eventually, you will develop the skill or a “mindset” and will no longer need a ‘recipe.’ Let’s take gratitude, for example. Many people suggest keeping a ‘gratitude journal’ and say that this exercise has been proven to improve happiness. This article from Greater Good tells us exactly how to do this, writing “up to 5 things,” three times a week. I did this exercise, but quickly adapted to writing as few or as many things as I wanted. Although the article suggests only three times a week, I did this every night as part of my bedtime routine. I soon found that I was looking for things to write in my gratitude journal. I noticed the colorful flowers, the unexpected text from a friend, a smile and friendly comment from a stranger.. I soon found that my day was filled with quotidian happenings that would be fodder for my gratitude journal. I no longer write in a gratitude journal, but I am continuously noticing things I’m grateful for. The practice of using a gratitude journal helped me develop the skill and a mindset of gratitude. Besides feeling more grateful, the practice proved successful in the overall goal of helping me feel happier, optimistic, and resilient. Before developing a mindset, however, you usually need to develop and practice the skills that lead to that mindset, often by following certain practices or a framework. Just like a new cook learns by following recipes, and a new musician learns to read music, someone who is new to "Agile" usually learns a framework, like Scrum. However, as skills develop, a mindset is developed. The more seasoned agilist, like the master chef, can mix and match agile techniques to create a framework that works best in their specific environment.



Yvette Francino is an independent Agile coach, trainer, and writer. She hosts a podcast, Carpe Diem Connections, about living life fully and fostering deep and meaningful connections. See CarpeDiemDay.com for more information.


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arakalic
arakalic
Jan 09, 2021

Thank you Yewitt for bringing up this topic.Learning a new skill requires an open mind set and the urge to learn. To attain mastery frameworks like Scrum may help.But now a days individuals especially like to skip the framework May be because frameworks like scrum need quantifiable goals and adherence to rules. I have heard many youngsters say frameworks are more a corporate thing for financial and market goals. I don’t agree with this. But that is their mindset. The Shu-ho-ri method looks so very adaptable . Learning a skill either by oneself or through guidance through this method looks very probable. As yewitt has pointed out, first appreciation of the merit of things is very important. Taking photos i…

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Learning a new skill is never easy.But @yvette’s blog Makes it look simple if we have the mind set and the interest to adapt. Her Chef example is so relatable and I can say honestly I have gone through that experience. Clicking photos taking precedence over seeing and enjoying a place or a piece of art is very very true. My own family members do it all the time and I keep telling them .

Gratitude journal is a new concept for me.But then, just for writing in it I should not invent or cook up appreciation and thankfulness. A bit sceptical but may try for a period and see. Thank you for the simple explanation and the mastery mode…

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design_rules!
design_rules!
Dec 10, 2020

This is a very good read indeed! No one talks about the process, the framework, the incremental steps needed to master anything! To continue your cooking analogy, how many times do we not skip to the method assuming we know what the ingredients are? Or wing the bake time or temperature? And then make excuses of how things never turn out as they do on TV or as they say in the recipe? And to top it all, practice, right? As someone else mentioned in the comments, the discipline it takes??


Wonderful read, thanks Yvette.

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Thank you Yvette, for an informative article. We can often struggle with new practices, even when we know on some level we need to be doing it. You have pointed out that when we start something new, and learn the framework for doing it, we can then adjust as we need. There is so much power in women using our own needs to make our experiences work for us. Thank you for that reminder!

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Yvette Francino
Yvette Francino
Dec 09, 2020

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments. It was a pleasure and privilege to share my thoughts via this venue. I'm honored to be part of the community!

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