Who would have thought that playing a gig with my band is forcing us to be agile as f…? I don’t know why we keep trying, but those of us playing instruments always want to create a fixed setlist. That makes it way easier to prepare our instruments for the next song. Days before the gig we will insist on, that the setlist is now finished and can’t be changed. However, by now we should know who are the real bosses of the band. It is not until the singers look at the setlist between two songs, they decide if they really feel like singing the next song. Otherwise, they will just swap them around live at the gig, making us busy picking the right sounds on our instruments.

Sometimes it is simply impossible for us to really feel it before we are there. I see the same thing in agile IT projects.

During the pre-analysis and planning (yes, we actually do that in agile projects 🙂 ) everybody is always optimistic. Even the people with the most detailed technical knowledge may say “of course, we can build it that way”. But when we get to it. When we actually start building it, a lot of unforeseen issues often shows up. It really makes me frustrated and I want to shout “you could have figured this out earlier if you had just talked to each other.” But they couldn’t because they weren’t there yet. It is not, that people are dumb. They are just in the middle of solving technical issues, when their Outlook reminds them, that they have to go to a planning workshop with me. There we are to talk about stuff to be built several sprints ahead. Of course, they are not mentally there yet.

In fact, most of us will recognize it from our everyday life. Imagine a friend you haven’t seen in a long time suggests you should go out for a cup of coffee or a beer next Saturday. It sounds great, and you happily say yes, looking forward to seeing your friend again. When you wake up Saturday morning thinking of how to spend your day, you remember what you said yes to earlier that week. Of course, it is not that you don’t wanna hang out with your friend. At this point, you just realize it will actually require you to leave your home and that there is so much other stuff, you should be taking care of instead.

Note to self:

  • Don’t try to force people to make decisions, when they are not there yet.
  • Find out how to know when people are mentally there in different situations.