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Archive for 2010/03/23

When the objective change

In an earlier post, I published a link to a film concerning the biggest catastrophe in modern day Mount Everest climbing history and this is an amazing story of will power. But there are also other learnings.

What happened to the objective?

The climbers all went up there with a clear and obvious objective. For one reason or the other, they wanted to reach the top of the world. But in an instance, as an effect of outside aspects, the objective changed to something completely differently. Instead of reaching the top, people just wanted to survive and in some cases, the objective changed again. Faced with the fact that he was going to die, one of the climbers just wanted to talk one more time with his pregnant wife.

In this case, it was obvious that the objective had changed, and I guess everyone switched objectives. But in most projects, it's not that easy. Objectives can be elusive, changing and moving. And in many cases, the objective has changed without us even noticing it. In many cases, the objective has changed for some of the team members, while some are still struggling towards the old objective.

When we talk agile, it's easy to just concentrate on the relative priority of different stories. We move stuff up and down on the list, but sometimes we really need to look at that top objective and really think if that is really what we want now and if that is what we're really struggling to reach.

But it's also not good if you change objectives too often. In one of my projects, we're struggling with the objective. It felt very clear from start but the main objective has changed a couple of times over time. That is not good. But it's a lesser evil than continue struggling towards something that is not very important anymore.

Anyone else who is struggling with changing objectives?

Posted via email from forss’s posterous

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Categories: Agile