Shadow work in agile

A lot of the coaching techniques used in agile are very behavioural. Given a certain challenge, we move forward to finding a solution. This sounds great, and in fact it’s much better than staying stuck, but in many cases it is suboptimal.

The same way there are physical pains that have a physical cause (broken leg), and others that have an emotional cause (back pain due to stress), there are challenges people face in agile environments which have an ecosystem cause (teams divided in silos), and others that have an emotional cause (difficulty sharing ideas within the team).

And the same way a massage is not the best approach to back pain due to stress, any technique to sharing ideas is neither the best approach to facing difficulties being open within the team. Both have an emotional component, and tackling the root cause, rather than the effect, is the most effective way to go.

It is actually the only way to go that brings real personal growth. Because in every challenge, there is a lesson about ourselves to learn to overcome it. So what you really should do is move towards the difficulty, not away from the unpleasantness of it.

This is shadow work. And like Scrum, it is easy to understand and difficult to master. Shadow work requires guidance, knowledge, and dedication, and it is one of the most meaningful things you will do in your life.