I’ve just completed the first two days of work for 2010. This is a hectic period for my company. Traditionally, January is a month for summer vacation planning, and this year we’re exceeding the previous year’s booking by a wide margin: last week we had 40% more bookings than the previous year. Great news and a real test of our web sites.
But it’s also a time to think about other challenges. On the personal side, my son is going to preschool this autumn. Myself, I’m planning to complete the short version of La Marmotte, a amateur cycling race in France. 76 km, 2500 m gradient will give me something to work to complete.
Work wise, I know I will be working with 7 habits, empathic leadership and our ongoing struggle to improve our business using our processes and software solutions. I will probably experiment more with kanban and behavioral economics. Finally, my line of business is of course struggling with the challenges of sustainability and the climate question.
Do I need something else? Probably not. I guess I have stuff to do.
Being a Swede is incredible fun this year. Of course watching 25-year-old Thomas Lövkvist at least one day in pink is awesome but one can’t help being amazed by Fredrik Kessiakoff, not a year into the discipline and already among the greatest on a day like today.
OK, I’m bike stricken and that is kind of silly of a person who normally knows nothing about sports. Sweden won a World cup bronze medal in ice hockey, and I didn’t even know that was happening even if ice hockey is one of the biggest sports in Sweden.
But road cycling is something completely different. Why? For not interested it looks so boring. Those guys sitting on their bikes all day long. And they are all on drugs. Well, if just address the last item first: as a pragmatic I understand that athletes like all humans cheat and you’re pretty stupid if you think this is more common in sports where you perform more tests. Being on constant pain killers doesn’t seem to bother soccer here in Sweden. So, let’s move along to why road biking is so interesting and why I find it so inspiring as part of software development.
I find that the needed traits are so similar: you have the hard work, the need for good tools, the long hours, the constant improvement. You have the cheaters and you have the loyal guys. And if you want to see a successful team. follow a team trial (if you missed stage 1 of the Giro you can still catch the Tour of France) and see who wins.
A team time trial is when the whole team get on their bikes on the same time and try to move as fast as they can to the finish. Everyone puts in their best effort to make the whole team win. Yes, there are always the weak links and they don’t perhaps do as much time in the front, but they do what they can. The team effort is measured by the fifth guy crossing the finish line. This mean that you can drop off a number of guys on the way but if you’re less then five it won’t matter. They still measure the fifth guy. Also, one can often see that the teams who push too hard so they lose people don’t win anyway.
Also, the focus on deploy is so interesting. Barloworld this year. The finish line nears. So, some of the guys sprint and others stop bothering. The problem was that only four were sprinting. So, they still had to wait for a couple of seconds for that fifth guy. I don’t think that dinner was a happy session for that team.
In rugby, one guy scores after the scrum and the sprint but in a cycling team trial the whole team is the winner. And that how it’s supposed to feel after a software development iteration.