ArticleJune 30, 2023 · 4 min read time
Nitor’s Sami Tervola takes a trip down the memory lane and wonders how a dose of agility might have positively affected his childhood family’s summer holiday. In this article, he shares what to remember to keep the whole family happy during the holiday season!
When I was a kid, we went on car trips with my family. Dad was driving, and Mom tried to read the map. I was in the backseat with my brother, and honestly, we didn’t enjoy the long trips. I guess we expected to get somewhere sooner, to have more options, and to enjoy the journey more.
Planning the journey usually started by selecting the ultimate goal. In this case, it was Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki, which was 500 km away. My parents had their holidays for only one week at the same time, so our trip was planned for specific days, no matter what. Without a map (for younger readers, at that time, there were no navigators), my dad knew only how to drive from Kokkola to Helsinki through Seinäjoki and Tampere, and he was very nervous about driving in Helsinki.
The project plan was simple, as we had three days to reach our goal. On the first day, we would drive about 500 km from Kokkola to Helsinki. The second day was dedicated to our visit to Linnanmäki. On the third day, it was time to head back to Kokkola and spend another five hours in the car. With a clear plan, what could go wrong?
Well, many things could go wrong. Our only stops during the drive were planned to get more fuel to the car. There was no time to stop when we saw signs for Ice Cream or strawberries, as the mantra was: “Let’s eat when we get to Helsinki!”. Our parents had pre-made some sandwiches for the car trip, but at least the backseat didn’t like them. WE ARE ON HOLIDAY, and on holiday we wanted to eat something more yummy.
In addition, it was either raining outside or the car was too hot, so phrases like “Are we there yet” and “I’m bored” were common. And, why were the roads filled with traffic work which slowed us down, especially when it was the same last summer, too?
How would I fix this now? Have flexibility, have options. Could there have been amusement parks closer? Yes. Alahärmä PowerPark and Tampere Särkänniemi, to name a few. Are there different road options for those? Yes. Do we need to drive 500 km a day? No. Could we have more fun (=value) with less effort? Yes. How?
Let’s start with who is the customer here. “Our neighbours had a two weeks holiday, and they were going to Helsinki so we…” No. The customers in this story are in the backseat, in belts, and not heard.
Are we sure that Linnanmäki amusement park is the only place they would enjoy, or should we have planned more options? If we had driven about one hour (85 km), there would have been the PowerPark amusement park that would have brought faster value to customers in the backseat.
The parents would have been spared of the never-ending ‘Are we there yet’s, which came from the children’s poor visibility of the journey’s progress, combined with their minimal patience. In addition, based on the feedback, we could have exceeded the customers’ expectations and driven on the second day to Tampere, to the Särkänniemi amusement park, and have more fun (=value).
That’s two amusement parks in two days, awesome! On the third day, the drive back home would have been only 300km instead of 500km, and the backseat would probably have been happy (and tired). No complaints.
We could have created more value in a shorter time by making our journey more agile and breaking it down into sprints of Kokkola-Alahärmä, Alahärmä-Tampere and Tampere-Kokkola.
The story also teached us to deliver value sooner. To know what brings value. To have options for the roads if there are traffic restrictions on the journey. To have flexibility on the days to have a more enjoyable journey and a better time when the value is delivered.
Have time for ice cream and toilet breaks! And, to try some new products other than your own sandwiches - remember you are on holiday. Plans are good, but things don’t often go as planned, so preserve more options. Learn to listen, navigate, and change course during the journey because requirements might have changed since the first plans were made.
In business life, the navigators are called Enterprise Agile Coaches. They can make your agile journey more enjoyable. They listen to the backseat and tailor the journey to their context accordingly.