I know that in my daily job every project needs to have a vision or at least goal that my client want (or rather should) follow. Famous questions “WHY? WHO? HOW? WHAT?” are repeated like mantra. All of them are equally important to achieve success. Same as in a journey, where [frankly speaking] you are the Product Owner, or a Stakeholder. And yes, you definitely will be a sponsor, so you should care about everything and demand results. Vision/ dream and your Companion are equally important as your destination in this journey. Let’s go on The Trip, then.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” [L. Tzu]
Before any journey (as in projects), some prerequisites are crucial for the job:
- Good humour And ..
- A Person crazy enough to go with you.
Now, to have them, some activity needs to be taken as a kick off actions. Move your finger on the globe to choose the travel destination. Select more or less carefully your travel companion. Read something about the place – believe me you will find it useful/handy in the end. When you did, agree the money you want to spend, deadlines and milestones (it will definitely help if you want to organize some cheap accommodation). Remember, prerequisites are important, but not only for you. Yes, I’m thinking about some ground rules! It’s worth to establish them at the beginning. If you ever worked with a BA, you know what I mean. Well, let’s be honest, we love to make an entrance :) and set some rules. PMs are calling it Communication Plan, but they let us do our part in it – as we proudly call it a BA Expose. Basically, it’s all about how we want to do things we are doing, what and why we do them. So there will be no surprises, neither at the beginning, nor in the end. Believe me, it’s something you want to invest in – especially when the trip will take more than few days. The longer the trip is, the higher rate of misunderstanding or miscommunication you get. Now, when the rules are set, we can think of some other desired actions, i.e. ‘Why this destination is the chosen one?’ and ‘What will you do there?’ As simple as that, create a wish list with some needs you want to experience. Let’s create the WHAT part, by simple list as a backlog:
- [Epic: Do] As a Traveller, I want to pack my Backpack in the most efficient way so I can squeeze in to Rayanair hand-luggage allowances (cheaper flight, less on my bag)
- [Epic: See] As a Traveller, I want to see as much as I can, for as little as I can so I can eat and drink as much as I can taste traditional cuisine of the place that I’m in
- [Epic: Do] As a Traveller, I want to be safe so I can return to Objectivity without any harm.
- [Epic: Do] As a Traveller, I want to rest well so I let stress go and be more creative when I get back
- [Epic: Do] As a Traveller, I want to meet people to gain more knowledge about other cultures
- [Epic: See] As a Traveller, I want to see new places so I can sit down in a grandma chair and recall these moments
- [Epic: Do] As a Traveller, I want to go into the wild so I can camp in the nature and in the morning see the grizzly bear.
- [Epic: See] As a Traveller, I want to see the city so I can see different cultures and amazing architecture in it.
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” [V. Nazarian]
I would not be me, if I were different. My needs are simple: Safety, Excitement and Expenses are the things I care the most about. They would drive my decisions. If I need to make some cuts and a quick decision, I will pick a MVP (Minimum Valuable Product) based on those base/key words.
When you know, what you’d like to achieve, try to think, how you will define your measure of satisfaction? What does it mean to see the city? (Epic-Do; US8) How many of them? One or more? When you are able to say I’m good with that? In projects it’s all about acceptance criteria, either yours (in that matter) or others – cause your companion may have other view then yours. You have to meet in the middle, I’m afraid. Now, again, enough talking, more doing, it’s high time to do something.
“There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man, who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a saint, begging, "Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally, the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son-please, please, please...buy a ticket. " [E. Gilbert]"
So there we are, launching the project, buying a ticket or simply speaking, makings things happen. You know what to do, then just do it! Please remember, it takes team work to make a dream work. You are not alone, unless you do not want to be alone in the journey.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Every self-respecting Traveller (and a BA), knows that three terms are the most important in the way of doing things:
- Defining the needs (backlog refinements):
- do you still want to go wild, or do you prefer to stay in the city a bit longer
- do you still have funds and time for it -> no, instead of descoping, let’s resize the scope ;)
- Squeeze the need in the time it is given (planning phase)
- does your companion know that he will have only one day for fishing? Are you sure that you don’t miss the train?
- Enjoy the actions (demand a final demo – The Trip is taking place)
- you cannot plan everything, google photos are different than reality – sit down and watch, feel, small, taste…. simply enjoy it!
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” [J. Steinbeck]
Do not panic. Just react, notice the risk and difficulties and try to mitigate them, as PMs do. But never, ever panic. If you don’t know what to do, just ask you friend, companion, wife …. or ‘uncle Google’.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” [E. Hemingway]
Every journey comes to an end eventually. Some travellers say that “Sometimes good things need to end for better things to begin” others says that “It is not the destination that matters, is the path that you make to get there”.
Final phase (we call in project a hyper care period) is a phase when you realize you spend a great time, spend all the money (even if you don’t want to count it) and you have a lot of uncategorised documentation i.e.: photos, notes, recipes that now you have to put in order. Usually it’s done on the request, mainly when you or your family is eager to see them.
It is worth to do it and learn from it. You never know when things that happen to you on that journey become useful. You never know what will happen after it, either internally – in you, or externally in your environment. If something good did happen – share it as good practice. People will appreciate it.
Have a nice journey!