and Sendhil) conducted a 5 day Agile Software Development Session in our
Organization last week. As part of the
Agile design session, Sendhil had a slide "Empty your cup". Unless
someone agrees to iterative design and development, Agile design is a very
controversial topic and to make sure people are ready to listen, Sendhil talked
about the Zen story.
"You cannot learn anything if you already feel that you know."
was an American professor who had made a lifetime’s study of the Japanese tea
ceremony. He was the western expert. He heard there was an old man living in
Japan who was a master of the tea ceremony. So he made a special trip to Japan
to see him. He found the master living in a small house on the outskirts of
Tokyo and they sat down to have tea together. The professor immediately started talking about the tea ceremony, his study,
all he knew about it and how he was looking forward to sharing his learning with the old man. The
old man said nothing, but started to pour tea into the professor’s cup.
the professor talked, the old man continued to pour the tea, the cup filled and
the old man kept pouring. The tea split down the sides of the cup in a stream
onto the floor, yet the old man did not stop. “Stop!” said the professor. “You
are crazy. You can’t fit any more tea in that cup. It’s full.”
“I was just practicing,” replied the old man, “for the task
of attempting to pass learning to a mind that is already full.”