Kata means pattern, routine, habits or way of doing things. Kata is about creating a fast “muscle memory” of how to take action instantaneously in a situation without having to go through a slower logical procedure. A Kata is something that you practice over and over striving for perfection. In the book “Managing Flow”, Ikujiro Nonaka describes Kata as a traditional Japanese code of knowledge that describes a process of synthesizing thought and behavior in skillful action; the metacognition of reflection in action. If the Kata itself is relative static, the content of the Kata, as we execute it is modified based on the situation and context in real-time as it happens. Nonaka also describes Kata as different from a routine in that it contains a continuous self-renewal process.
Kata is not to blindly copy some else method, but to improve on it in an evolutionary way. You learn and evolve a Kata through the three stages of the learning cycle Shu (learn), Ha (break) and Ri (create). In the first stage Shu, you learn by following the teacher. You imitate the teacher’s practices, values and thinking. You will only move on to the next stage when you have made the teacher’s Kata your own. In the Ha stage, you break from the teacher’s practices and make modifications based on your own creativity. In the Ri stage, you leave the teacher and you start creating your own unique Kata. As you expand your knowledge into new areas, you will loop back to the Shu stage for those areas in an ever-growing spiral of knowledge.
In October I had the great opportunity to be part of the 3rd Lean IT Summit in Paris. This conference was really one of the highlight of my 2013 conference season.
On the second day of the conference I had the great opportunity to be part of the Lean Agile roundtable. The participants of the panel was (from the left) Pierre Pezziardi, Steve Bell , me, Mike Orzen, Michael Ballé, Daniel T Jones, Regis Medina, Takashi Tanaka, Laurent Bossavit, and Antoine Contal (moderator). Below is the recording of the roundtable. Please enjoy.
You have been doing agile for a few years now. With a regular cadence you have retrospectives and a lot of problems and great improvement opportunities are raised but nothing seems to really improve. Stop doing retrospectives!
It is time to take your improvement work to a whole new level! It’s time to shift your focus form collecting problems to making small experiments! It’s time to create the daily habits of continuous improvement. It is time to start using Toyota Kata!
In this session you will get a practical introduction to Toyota Kata. You will learn about the two Kata’s, behavior patterns, of Toyota Kata. You will follow a team that goes through the two Kata’s and improves its way of working.
This is the presentation I gave at Agile Adria, Terme Tuhelj, Croatia, April 22-23, 2013