How BoardEffect Uses “Shuhari” in Product Development

Building the BoardEffect Board Portal using “Shuhari”

In Agile Development you’ll often hear talk of a concept from martial arts called “Shuhari.” Shuhari describes 3 stages during the learning process. While not part of the official product framework, the sentiment of Shuhari can be found through out our approach to developing the BoardEffect board portal product.

First, let’s look at the concepts of Shuhari using music as an example.

Shu– Understanding foundational knowledge and working with the established methods. Musical example: learning to play “Hey Jude” on the guitar.

Ha– Elevate your understanding by incorporating new influences and innovating on the established methods. Musical example: Playing a jazz version of “Hey Jude” with improvised solos.

Ri– Actualize your vision by weaving knowledge, experience, and innovations into something that contributes to the body of work. Musical example: Record an album of original songs and become bigger than the Beatles.

See full presentation on Agile from Scott Ambler here.

Ok, so I may have gotten a little carried away with Ri example, but I think you get the point. The idea being that you can incorporate your experience into something new that advances the skill, tool, practice, etc.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at this from a Product Development perspective, particularly in terms of a board portal.

We start by studying the needs of Boards developing features to best support them, i.e. shu.

We then work to refine features through iterative enhancements. With each release the goal is to address needs while incorporating improvements based on what we learned, i.e. ha.

The final state of Ri is attained when boards and the product evolve and inform each other concurrently, elevating performance and efficiency along the way. Boards advance their work through BoardEffect, and BoardEffect develops the product to enhance Board management workflow.

While the above examples are linear, the process of Shuhari can often be cyclical. For example, new information may move you from Ri to Shu until it is understood. The point being is that the learning process never stops and the we often move between the states of shuhari. This movement reminds us to always evaluate our work and look for new ways to best support and understand the challenges facing boards. By doing this we continue to deliver value and grow with the boards we serve.

If you would like to learn about how BoardEffect can help you improve your board efficiency, sign up to speak with an advisor today!

Matthew Bryan

Matthew Bryan is the Product Owner at BoardEffect. He works directly with end-users, senior management, customers, partners and other stakeholders to synthesize and define the technology needs of the organization and establish strategic goals for BoardEffect a SaaS platform for Boards of Directors. This role works closely with developers, using an agile process to quickly and effectively deliver high-value business solutions.