It’s not really about Agile or agile enlightenment, although this has formed a substantial part in my various agile roles.
‘The ‘Ten Bulls of Zen’ (or alternatively the ‘Ten Ox-herding Pictures of Zen’) is a metaphoric depiction of stages of self-realization’ but for Bull, read: Agile, agile, lean, kanban, coaching, mindfulness, people, purpose – that continual search for ‘…a new way‘.
What ‘new way‘ are you looking for?
The Agile frameworks out in the market are just frameworks or methodologies or…whatever you want to call them? DaD, SAFe, LeSS, SoS, Lexus, Slim, SCARE, FAST Agile…and they all consume bandwidth, not just on websites, LinkedIn but our time in their pros & cons.
However, for any of these ways of working to be successful, there’s a fundamental need for people, teams, leaders, managers or the organisation itself to shift it’s thinking – to change.
I like the ‘Ten Bulls of Zen’ because it allows us (me) to see ‘change‘ as a story and we know, from a very early age, that stories are engaging – good stories attract and take you on a journey. The realising and releasing of an individual’s or team’s performance can start with ‘the Bull’ or ‘the new way’.
Keith Johnstone’s book – Impro for Storytellers, is an excellent book and its application can enable people to be more ‘active, spontaneous and flexible’. Again, looking to the world of Improv, with a large dash of Zen, daily meditation and mindfulness and a focus on people forms part of who I am as a Coach (oh, and frameworks) – splitting soft vs hard skills, with soft skills being 80-90% of who I am.
Budgeting, planning, frameworks etc are all hard skills that can be taught, learnt (certified) and can be ‘doing’ but the softer skills is more about ‘being’.
Product development – team development – leadership development – startup journey: whatever ‘way’ you are looking for, let go of what you think you might know, to absorb the stuff that could make up more of what you might need to know.
- The Search for the Bull – the seeker searches for a new way, it’s just the beginning
- Discovering the Footprints – the first footprints are spotted: Scrum maybe and the reality, with a possibility there are better ways.
- First sight of the Bull – visual confirmation and speaking with others marks the first glimpse of the underlying principle of agile
- Catching the Bull – you do the CSM but your relationship with it and your first team is rocky; the mind is putting up its natural resistance to change.
- Taming the Bull – you start to apply focus, commitment and courage (recognise these three?) and with realisation, ‘our mind begins to settle and to work with us, rather than against us’.
- Riding the Bull Home – here there’s a deepening of understanding
- The Bull Transcended (Bull Forgotten, Self Alone) – our journey, my journey to Enlightenment is simply the direct recognition of our true nature
- Both Bull and Self Transcended (or Forgotten) – deepening and maturing of knowledge and the sense of ‘being awake’
- Reaching the Source – here lies our recognition of the Source (agile) as ‘consciousness without an object’.
- In the World (Entering the Marketplace with Helping Hands) – here the seeker becomes the ‘finder’ and that realisation must ultimately be shared in some way with the world for it to have lasting value and meaning.