What is an Immersive Learning Dojo?

person stands outside of a Dojo building surrounded in beautiful foliage
Immersive Learning Dojo /ˈdōˌjō/: An immersive environment where agile teams embark on an intensive learning journey that enables teams to make breakthroughs more rapidly and consistently.

“Dojo” origins go back to Japanese martial arts. In a traditional sense, it is a dedicated place where students and masters come together for an intensive practice to develop their skills.

While the skills being practiced are vastly different, Dojos have been adapted to work exceptionally well in the agile team setting. Specifically, product development, agile practices, lean flow, DevOps, and software development.

The keys to Dojo’s success:

  • Familiarity: In an agile Dojo the team’s environment —backlog, norms, scrum events, people —are all used for learning opportunities and habit development. For example, in a Dojo you may practice story writing and then pick up that same story as a pair programming opportunity to up-skill developers.
  • Sustained value delivery: Because Dojo teachings are derived straight from the team’s backlog, the team is still delivering while simultaneously learning. It is normal to see a dip in velocity at the beginning of a Dojo, but it usually is followed by a sustained accelerated pace caused by the Dojo coaching.
  • Dedicated time and attention: Dojos last 6-8 weeks on average which seems to be enough time to make habits stick and not too long to burn people out.
  • The best part is Dojos are approachable. All you need is a seasoned agile coach (technical coaches can be valuable, too) a dedicated team, a scrum master, and a product owner. This gives you the people needed to truly make an impact on the team and most importantly sustain the teachings after the Dojo coaching engagement comes to a close.

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