As most parents know the end of the summer school holidays are a time for rejoicing.
The amount of juggling that goes on when you are working, have the best part of 7 weeks to get through and want to spend a couple of week on holiday “all together” is amazing.
I’m sure you all know the type of conversations that go on.
“If you do the 3rd, I can do the 4th”
“What about your mum can she cover?”
“Day care is so expensive for a full day.”
“The club only runs from 10 to 3, you’ll have to work from home”
My wife and I sat down and planned out every day, including the 2 weeks we were to spend in Montenegro and we covered every single day, I even ended up with a couple of days to carry over to next year, I’d kept a few back “just in case”.
Then my wife’s dad had a large stroke, right at the beginning of the school holidays, so suddenly things were very up in the air as you can imagine, certainly for the first couple of weeks where things were a bit touch and go for the old fella.
This meant that some of the things that we had planned we had to cancel, some we had to rearrange, some remained as they were and my spare days were easily eaten up. But as so often happens when the chips are down families pull together and support each other and things that at the time seemed so important suddenly are seen for what they are, trivial in the wider scope of things.
For a while the holiday was up for grabs, as it wasn’t as important as being around to support my wife’s parents, each day was a case of seeing how things were going then moving forward with the next day.
As the days became weeks things calmed down, the father-in-law stabilised and we found that we were able to go on holiday after all, obviously paying for insurance kept our options open on the holiday meaning that we could make a last second decision about going or not.
And so we went on holiday, some stories for another day there, my brush with the Montenegro Police for example and the 4 hours we spent in the mountains waiting for a really bad traffic accident to be handled and cleared, chilling!
And the point of all this, well really that what we do in building our products isn’t too much different at the end of the day.
We can do planning and make plans and it’s really important that we do this as we need to understand what it is we are trying to do and for whom and why. But in life we simply cannot predict what will or will not happen and when the inevitable does happens and things go a bit pear shaped it ultimately really down to how people react and pull together to get us through things that counts.
Ok we use lean product development, Cynefin, experiment, get rapid feed-back, small batches, flow, Deming, DevOps all of that good stuff, but really when the chips are down its the people that really count.
So please do go out and build fantastic teams, you’ll need them at some point.