There’s nothing like a dose of humility to remind us all that even the best plan can wind up a disaster if we aren’t careful. Take my own personal example of a 5K race I recently “ran”. This is a very hilly 5K race I’ve run in the past, but to make a short story even shorter, the picture below tells the tale. The green line represents the actual race course, and the red line represents the scenic tour that I decided to add to the race this year.
Besides more than tripling my normal time with a 60 minute 5K record, I learned a few things along the way. First, taking frequent checkpoints of where you are cannot be underestimated. If you are an Agile purist, this means short iterations – two weeks preferred. Second, just because you’ve been there before doesn’t mean this time will be the same. To emphasize this point, I like the quote ‘if you feel comfortable, you should be uncomfortable’ (author unknown), and my discomfort was only compounded when I had to stop and ask a local resident for directions on how to get back to the finish (twice). And last, the hare doesn’t stand a chance against a tortoise that knows about the first two lessons.