The Harada Method: Trainer Interview - Steve Mitchell


Earlier this year at LAST Conference, we were lucky enough to have the "Godfather of Lean" Norman Bodek, dial in at the beginning of the second morning and speak to all 650 of the attendees about his story, Agile, Harada and all things Lean. You can watch highlights of this here or at the bottom of this article.

Coming up on Saturday, 28th of October, Steve Mitchell will be running our inaugural Harada Method Training here in Melbourne, Australia. Norm will also be dialling in over video conference during the day to help facilitate a part of the learning.

The Harada method was developed by Takashi Harada, he spent years studying the worlds best sports coaches and eventually developed his own method. He has since started his own training company in Tokyo and trained over 70,000 people at over 300 companies.

Norman Bodek, had Mr. Harada's training material translated into English, co-authored a new book with Mr. Harada, and has taught over 1000 people in the West the Harada Method. He has taught the Harada Method at Portland State University and also certification workshops in Portland, Oregon.

Personally, I'm a big believer in taking a more holistic view at yourself and how to organise your life in a way that has you improving and growing each day. I think we all have an opportunity to advance our careers or personal lives by taking a more disciplined approach to what we do across all facets of our lives.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to reach out to me on

You need to want “it”, whatever “it” is. You need to have the desire within yourself to improve and grow. You have to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and what you’re doing.
— Steve Mitchell

Ringo: What is this course about, what is the Harada Method?

Steve: The Harada Method is a system to get the most out of yourself. It provides you the tools to become self-reliant and achieve life goals instead of just dreaming about them. It's massive in Japan but barely known about in the West.

Ringo: How did you first come across it?

Steve: By accident, I read Norm Bodek's autobiography called Kaikaku. I loved the book so much that I read another book by Norman which happened to be The Harada Method. Subsequently, I went and trained with him for a week in Portland, Oregon.

Ringo: How was that as an experience?

Steve: Amazing. Norman is not just the "Godfather of Lean", he is a master teacher and a wonderful man. I learned so much from the other attendees too. With events like these it’s not just the content that provides value, it’s the people in the room.

Ringo: Is there a particular value set you think is important as an individual to get the most value out of this course?

Steve: You need to want "it", whatever "it" is. You need to have the desire within yourself to improve and grow. You have to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and what you’re doing. We do a level of introspection to understand your past and present to help shape your future.

Ringo: Tell me more about some of the things you’ll do across the day?

Steve: We’ll explore not only the tools contained in the method, but activities to provoke reflection on what’s important to you as an individual and what may bring more meaning in your life. This involves anything that you want to set a goal for -  whether it's in your current job, to create a new career, or to improve aspects of your private life.

Ringo: What are the key learnings of this one day course?

Steve: To get the most out of the method you have to use the method. The day is about learning this method and the principles and origins behind it, but also practicing the method in a supportive environment.

Ringo: How would an attendee know this was worthwhile for them?

Steve: Follow your intuition. If it feels like it’s right, it probably is. My intuition has never let me down.

Ringo: From a business or management perspective, why would you send your people?

Steve: The most important measure for agility and business success is employee engagement. By empowering people to set their own goals in alignment with company goals they will be more engaged, motivated and productive.

Ringo: Any final comments?

Steve: Life is what you make of it. Choose your own adventure and run with it.

Management 3.0 Workout: Trainer Interview - Craig Brown

Tabar pioneered Management 3.0 in Australia, first bringing its founder, Jurgen Appelo to Australia, in 2012.

For our upcoming Management 3.0 Workout course, we're taking the opportunity to speak with Craig Brown.  

Apart from expertise in the disciplines of management and project delivery, Craig has a deep understanding of the practical implementation of Agile and Lean methods. He is a leading thinker in the Agile community and as well as presenting to industry conferences in Australia and overseas, Craig organised the Melbourne LAST  (Lean, Agile, and Systems Thinking) conference in Melbourne.

Craig has delivered Enterprise Agile training programs to Tier 1 companies, and has trained numerous teams in Scrum basics as well as since 2012 delivered Management 3.0 training to clients in Australia and facilitated subsets of the training course into Australian Agile Conferences.

Business Analyst Masterclass: Trainer Interview - Craig Brown

It's as important as ever to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date and we've noticed that there's a real appetite out there for Business Analysts and Product Owners improve their ability to master requirements management.

That's why we asked Craig Brown to put together this Business Analyst Masterclass.

As you'll read on in the interview, Craig has been working in business analysis in one form or another since the late 90's, and he has applied this experience to this Masterclass. This class provides people working in the role of Business Analysis an understanding of the benefits of constant reflection and improvement, and anyone performing the work of business analysis an understanding of the benefits of discipline and rigour.

Apart from his added expertise in the disciplines of management and project delivery, Craig has a deep understanding of the practical implementation of Agile and Lean methods. He is a leading thinker in the Agile community and as well as presenting to industry conferences in Australia and overseas, Craig co-founded LAST  (Lean, Agile, and Systems Thinking) conference in Melbourne.

Craig is currently the VP of Collaboration at Aconex, and is well embedded in the community as a speaker and thinker, and he sees the opportunity to share his knowledge with the broader workforce.

We hope that the interview will show you how the course will be valuable for you. Then click the button to register for the upcoming Business Analyst Masterclass.

In terms of ROI, if you spend a few hundred dollars for this day you should be seeing that value flow back to you in a few weeks, if not immediately.

It’s a cost effective way to be seen as better at your job, adopting new ideas, committing yourself to learning and this has an immediate return of investment on your career.

Ringo: How has this course come about?

Craig: When I talk to business analysts, I see people with intent to do great work who don’t seem coached, mentored and supported to do so.

I have a lot of experience in this area and I know how to do it, I want to give people the opportunity to be as impactful as they can be.

Ringo: So you have a lot of experience? Tell me more

Craig: In one form or another since the late 90’s I’ve been doing or contributing to BA work, I’ve been one, managed them, led teams, written and run BA training courses, been a consultant to business analyst practices, managed BA consultants, all dimensions of the role for around 20 years.

After recently spending time with a group of BA’s, it made me realise I’ve got a whole lot of experience that I can share and help others grow from it and that there is an appetite for this kind of support and assistance.

Ringo: How does someone know this is going to be valuable for them?

Craig: If you’re a business analyst, it’s going to be valuable.

In terms of the content, to some degree we’ll do a voting and prioritization of it at the beginning of the day, to make sure we’re addressing your issues and learning goals. Regardless of where you’ve come from, putting yourself in a new situation with peers from other organisations, giving feedback and ideas is always going to be valuable.

Ringo: What are the key items of value from the day?

Craig: How do we know whether we’re making an impact on customers or users we’re targeting? How literate are we in the way we influence and guide others through change? How strong are our collaboration skills? What techniques do we have in our toolkit and are they the best ones for the challenges ahead of us?

We will look at all these ideas and explore how we can level up our skills by broadening the knowledge we use to do our job, focusing on reflection and improvement and how important discipline is to making a real difference.

Ringo: Everyone talks about agile, does this relate, or doesn’t it?

Craig: The essence of the agile movement is ‘inspect and adapt, so what we will be doing is very aligned to that. And there are definitely ideas from the agile methods and frameworks that we can leverage, but this day is about business analysis, and doesn’t require prior knowledge of agile methods to be useful.

Ringo: Ok, so what about BA's and Product Owners on agile teams, what value could they get from this day?

Craig: In almost ten yours of working with and workshopping with hundreds of agile Business Analysts, I am aware of the patterns in agile teams that are now opportunities for improvement. I expect BAs, and probably Product Owners, to find a clear value proposition from the day. They should already have a strong appetite for reflection and improvement and this day presents a great opportunity for that.

Ringo: Why now, what is somebody's reason for doing it today?

Craig: Invest in yourself professionally today. Don’t put it off!

In terms of ROI, if you spend a few hundred dollars for this day you should be seeing that value flow back to you in a few weeks, if not immediately.

It’s a cost effective way to be seen as better at your job, adopting new ideas, committing yourself to learning and this has an immediate return on investment on your career.

It also has an ROI for your business, it helps you get better outcomes for your customers in the products you’re creating, aligns understanding across the team and helps to give you a clearer line of sight to your customer.

Lastly, if you’re a BA and going down the path of being a certified Business Analyst, you have to invest in training and this accredits towards it.

It’s a great value proposition for a minimal amount of effort, I guarantee a lot of value for one days investment.

How I used the Lean Change Cycle to help launch and refine our training course (on Lean Change) Part 1

by Ringo Thomas

Ringo Thomas

Ringo Thomas

"Practice what you preach", "eat your own dog food", "be the change you wish to see". We’re all good at giving advice, but how often do we really follow our own lead by doing things at the standard we set while coaching others?

Over the past 4 months we’ve taken our “Agile and Lean Change Management Masterclass” to market here in Melbourne and Sydney.

This is Part 1 of a 3 Part series to share how we used the Lean Change Cycle to take the Agile and Lean Change training course to market. Across the series I’ll be setting the scene of why we decided to launch it, how we gathered insights, selected options and ran experiments to refine the offering based upon what people told us that they wanted.

The Lean Change Cycle

For those of you unfamiliar with Lean Change, it’s a simple 3 step cycle.

                        Lean Change Cycle

                        Lean Change Cycle

  • You use lightweight tools to gather insights from your business, team or customers.

  • You use these insights to select and prioritise options you choose to address these problems.

  • You create experiments that help you test your hypotheses.

  • You gather further insights from these experiments that helps you decide what to do next.

I’ve bolded the words insights, options and experiments to demonstrate the cyclic and continuous nature of the Lean Change Cycle, much like Agile.

Everything began with a set of insights we’d gathered that helped us see the gap in the market.

These were:

  • The world of work is changing rapidly, organisations need to be able to respond to change both internal and external at a rate not seen before.

  • Project Management and Software Delivery has evolved through Agile, now following an iterative, feedback driven approach to delivery as a whole.

  • Change Management is beginning to adapt and we believe there is a better way.

We considered our options based on this, and our coaches Peter Lam and Jude Horrill decided to join forces. Peter’s role as a Head of projects sees him applying Agile practices to his PMO’s, Projects and Teams. Jude’s experience has delivered change in Global Operations and Enterprise Transformations for Multi National Corporation’s.

Jude and Peter felt that Jason Little’s Lean Change Management framework is a useful way of addressing these issues. They believed that together their combination of experience and expertise could coach people in a way that addressed the challenges people were facing.

What did we do?

Our first hypothesis was simple -“we believe that if we run a one day training course on Agile and Lean Change Management, people will come”. We challenged the current market offering of a 2 day course with a one day course we felt addressed everything, and we launched it. This was our first experiment. Success was people attending from the kick-off.

People did. Right off the bat our hypothesis was proved true by a very active market demand and people purchasing. By conducting our first experiment we’d gathered information for a fresh set of insights and we were now considering our next options.

So what was next? Where could we improve? We’d had a theory and tested it in the market and now knew this was something to pursue.

We decided two things:

  • “We believe there is a market for more regular Agile and Lean Change Management training.”

  • “We believe that by identifying and speaking with our customers to understand their problem statements, we’re able to create a course that better suits their needs, messaging that speaks to their requirements and build a community that we engage with.”

We launched three further training courses - two in Melbourne and one in Sydney to continue our experiment on market demand. Success looked like paying participants and customer feedback that indicated we were addressing their needs. Concurrently, I segmented the customers (more to come on this in part 2) and began speaking with them to gather the insights required to truly understand their needs.

To summarise this first phase, it was about testing the market softly to validate our assumptions on a requirement. We did this in a way that set us up to speak with the people we were trying to help and begin to be seen as leading thinkers and coaches in the space.

In my next blog I’ll share the results and insights we gathered by speaking with customers to understand their problem statements and needs, also update you on how the following 3 courses went and our plans for 2017.

If you're interested to hear anymore about our journey email me on

Find out more about the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass, including scheduled courses in Melbourne and Sydney.

LeSS is more in Australia

By Anton Rossouw.

It was great to have Bas Vodde in Melbourne from 24 - 26 February 2015 to bring the first Certified LeSS Practitioner course to Australia. Its been several months in the making following a plot with Bas to visit Australia, crafted over great Japanese barbeque and Sake at Clarke Quay in Singapore.  The Melbourne location was also good enticement to exploring  Tasmanian Whisky in pursuit of the most excellent in the world! With that trigger discussion still clear in my memory I started day 1 of the 3 day LeSS training with Bas and 15 others at our partner organisation Elabor8’s training room.

My initial expectation of LeSS was that there could not be that much more to scaling Scrum that we weren’t already intuitively doing in some way, so anything new under the sun? I was very wrong! It dawned quickly that what Bas presented was taking Scrum itself to a whole new level of excellence! What I learned was somewhat of a surprise because “LeSS lets you do better Scrum” too. It’s not only about scaling teams and large product delivery but also at the same time amplifying the practical goodness at the heart of Scrum i.e. the agile stuff that really works. The course also brings many new agile aspects to the fore while also remaining simple, compact and focused. The particularly powerful concepts that resonated deeply with me were:

  • Steps and strategies to evolve Agile scaling into the wider organisational context in a low risk productivity enhancing way
  • Building cross functional feature teams across the organisation while driving understanding and contribution to the business domain
  • Applying organisational, product and process improvement from running retrospectives (overall) at scale emphasising that learning is at the core of LeSS
  • Specific roles for management steers them in support of teams and not control of people
  • Managing the one product backlog and driving Done and Un-Done work to get to extended enterprise level “totally Done”
  • Sincronisation of sprint time boxes into the same calendar cycle
  • What do we do when the product requires more than 8 teams i.e. going “Less Huge”
  • Two step sprint planning to cover enterprise level and team level planning for delivery
  • Managing the backlog according to dynamic requirements areas that reflect the enterprise contexts
  • Moving the teams and the organisation structure to customer and whole product focus
  • Applying Less principles underpinned by systems thinking that further enhance and support better Scrum
  • Moving away from project focus to continuous emergent Inspect and Adapt driven delivery
  • Moving from component teams to feature teams using a planned strategy based on a long term adoption map
  • Sometimes temporary fake product owners are valuable and needed!
  • Using and authority matrix to differentiate responsibilities for product owners, management and teams
  • The simplicity at the core of LeSS will de-complicate the organisational structure over the longer term and drive efficiency

In summary LeSS is not only about how to scale Scrum into a transforming organisation but also how to do better Scrum at every level. This emerged strongly from the stories throughout the training informed by Bas’s years of experience and deep thinking on practical application of LeSS.

Indeed a great start to more LeSS being done in Australia! I am convinced that as what happened to the relatively recent and unknown Tasmanian Whisky is also earmarked to become the de-facto reference to Scaling Agile excellence in the world. Go LeSS! 

Bas and Venky

Bas and Venky