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.

Agile & Lean Change Management: Attendee Interview - Ty Newton

Previously, we wrote about how we built the Agile and Lean Change Masterclass by following the principles taught in the course. Here's Part 1, as well as Part 2.

For Part 3 of this series, we talk to Ty Newton - Manager, Planning and Service Development from the Department of Health and Human Services, who cam along to a recent Agile and Lean Change Masterclass.

It was interesting for us to work closely with someone from within Government, who is bound more tightly by regulation and policy than your everyday corporate. It was exciting to learn how ready Ty was to look at changing the way he was working, and add to his tool belt, by using the methods and principles from Jason Little's Lean Change Management.

Have a read of our interview with Ty from about a week after completing the course, benefit from his experience and learnings so far by applying the tools techniques in his current work environment.

If you want to hear more about this course or get in touch with any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at

we were able to turn around a decision within days which just doesn’t normally happen.
— Ty Newton

So, before anything else, what's your current role?

My role is as the Manager of Planning and Service Development at the DHHS. In simplistic terms, this is about leading change, putting together quality assurance mechanisms and developing insights and metrics that inform the work that we do. I’m working with people both internal and external to the DHHS.

What was the problem you were looking to solve by coming along to the training course?

Given the accelerating pace of change that we face, we want to be able to respond more flexibly and effectively. It's important to be able to bring products and services online quicker, but they also need to be well informed and aligned to policy.

For me, it's all about having a suite of different tools you can use to approach different problems and opportunities. By developing different approaches to managing small and large change, it allows you to be prepared for new circumstances as they come along.

Do you feel like this gave you the knowledge to look at how you approach this problem?

"Yes" is the short answer. The test for me will be actually applying the tools, techniques and approaches. There's no one way to approach anything, but given the content that we traversed I was able to shift my thinking and I’ve already applied the learning.

 I like to be challenged; I’m constantly seeking ways to grow as an individual and broaden my awareness and understanding of new and better ways to deliver outcomes.

Ok, that's good that you've applied the learning already. Can you tell me more?

I had a workshop where I was looking to gather some key insights with a group.

Traditionally, I'd use a business excellence model, but I decided I'd use the sail boat exercise because I thought it would be a good way to help people feel the value of getting their points of view across.

People loved it! It was a design piece for one of the builds to do with our capital portfolio, by using the sail boat we were able to turn around a decision within days which just doesn't normally happen.

Last question, were there any concepts or ideas you felt were particularly powerful?

For me personally, the overall approach around starting with Insights, exploring Options and how it’s set out, what’s the impact and what’s the value, then moving onto Experiments, it nests everything really well. 

I also liked the blast radius, to be able to think from a stakeholder point of view, and then another layer in terms of analysis is really powerful, it's just another tool on the toolbelt that you can pull out when you need it. Importantly, it’s these types of tools and processes that remind me to be people focused rather than plan focused.

Visual Management & Kanban Kickstarter: Trainer Interview - Ben Hogan

With our upcoming course "Visual Management & Kanban Kickstarter" it was time to take the opportunity to speak with the trainer and Agile industry veteran - Ben Hogan.

About Ben

Ben has been helping teams grow agile, and collaborate using visual management, since 2002, way before it was hip. Ben has an enduring passion for awesome stationery and 3M products and is a veteran of introducing visualisation to many projects from product development to business operations. 

Ben has a deep technical background combined with experience in finance, marketing, HR, and customer service. Ben has used Lean, Design Thinking and Systems Thinking to create enterprise backed startups from concept to launch.

He was one of the first people to teach Kanban in Australia, and is a participant in the Kanban Leadership Retreat. Ben has spoken on Visual Management at the Scrum Australia and Agile Australia conferences, and was an invited speaker at the Agile Encore conference. 

Upcoming course

All this means Ben is a fantastic person to learn from, so take the opportunity of this interview to learn what the course is about!

You can learn more about the training and register for the course here:

If you're interested to talk more about the benefits of this course or have any questions you want answered please reach out to me on

We love feedback, let me know what you think of this article!

Ringo: So what is this course? Tell me a bit about it?

Ben: This course works to help you understand what Visual Management means in terms of managing your workload as an individual or in a team. It’s also to give you a kick start in understanding Kanban.

It’s origins came from seeing a gap in the market, people from the business - HR, Finance and Marketing - were too busy to spend two days in a course to do a deep dive into Kanban approaches. People wanted a condensed introduction, so I’ve shaped this course around learning some of the key tools, techniques and ideas and giving people the ability to get a good handle on some of the challenges they face.

Ringo: Who is the suitable audience? What are the sort of challenges someone may be facing to know this would be right for them?

Ben: This training is popular with two main groups: teams looking to quickly adopt visual management practices and change agents looking to support teams to use Kanban

Teams want to learn the fundamentals. Typically coming as a group or sending some people from the team, with the purpose of learning how you visualise work, visualise problems and measure performance.

Change Agents are typically Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches or Delivery leads. They normally come along because they want to widen their toolkit beyond just Scrum and they want to learn more about Kanban, which is a more evolutionary approach and more truly agile in nature.

The typical challenges attendees are facing include:

  • When the hiring freezes but the work doesn’t stop.
  • When you have too much work and not enough people.
  • When you or your team multiple competing priorities and there’s a lack of prioritisation in your pipeline of work
  • Problems prioritising between stakeholders
  • Low staff engagement or a non-collaborative culture 

Ringo: What will an attendee will come out with?

Ben: The view is to give the attendees all the foundational stuff.

  • They will have some very practical tips including a template for visualising work, problems, blockers and how to measure performance.
  • An understanding of how & when to use a stand up vs retrospective. 
  • Dealing with too much work and priorities of work.
  • Quick introduction to some of the terminology that surrounds visual management, and basic intros to concepts like Lean, Agile, Scrum and Kanban.
  • Pointers on next steps
  • Access to a community slack channel for support and discussion 
  • All students get a license to the book by Jimmy Janlen, 96 visualisation examples - included in the course fee
  • Reference and resources for further reading/learning including checklists.

Ringo: Can you tell me a bit about the structure of the half-day?

Ben: The day is split up as follows:

  • We start off understanding any specific pain points that the attendees want to address.
  • Context of why do we care about visual management
  • Maturity model & adoption
  • 1) getting clarity over the work (where/position, problems, performance & measuring it)
  • 2) Introducing controls (capacity & commitment management, next steps/role of a facilitator)
  • Materials and resources available and uses 

Simple as that!