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Jul 16

Drive slowly

This year we decided to go to Norway for our holiday. Together with my girlfriend Simone, her daughter Tiffany and my son Aidan (now you know a little bit more about me) I booked a road trip with use of my own car that I sort of specially bought for the rugged terrain of this awesome country. You have to know that I live and work in the Netherlands. A country that is very flat and straight and the maximum speed limit for a car is 130km/h. This is also the average speed that everybody drives. Even if you are allowed to only drive at 100km/h in some parts, most people, including me, drive a bit faster.

In Norway, the maximum is 70km/h, except for a few highways where the limit is 90, but these highways are very rare. For someone who is used to drive an average speed of 120 km/h, 70 seems very slow. Norway is big so you might think that it does not get you anywhere fast. But the strange thing is that it does. It is very easy to get used to driving at a slower speed. The time it takes to get from A to B is not that much longer than you would spend if you could drive it with a higher speed. Now why am I telling you this? You have to know one other thing. The roads in Norway are narrow and winding. In most cases you have a mountain wall on one side and on the other a deep ravine. And the Norwegians use safety rails sparsely in this country or at least not in most parts. So it would be very unwise to drive very fast. You never know what is around the next bend in the road. You can only brake; there is no left or right. Are you getting where I’m going with this?

If you drive to fast in this wonderful country you might end up in disaster. By going slower you have time to adept, change driving tactic and also, you can see what is up ahead. And because everybody does this, you might consider this country a very safe country to drive. Now isn’t that the same effect when we use velocity in scrum. If you want to go to fast in a project with a lot of unknowns, you might be going so fast that it is very hard to change, stop or divert. On my trip I have goals, a town nearby or maybe on the other side of a mountain. The map says it is only 200 km away. But does it take me two hours to get there? Hell no. It takes me all day. Not just because of the speed that I can drive, but also because of all the unknowns along the way. Beautiful views. Spectacular waterfalls. Nice resting places and the usual pit stops. If I would drive like a maniac, I would not see what is actually there to see. I would not have a quality vacation. I would not end up with a quality product. You might even see my girlfriend as my personal product owner. If I drive to fast, she will get mad. Not just because I endanger the product (we might end up down a cliff) but the product delivered is of low quality, she would be holding on to her seat with her eyes closed. In that case she won’t see a thing of the beautiful trip.

Do I need to go on? If you think your project is doing some sort of Agile but velocity is your goal, than you might end up with a lot of skit marks in your projects. Some dents here and there and probably along the way you might have damaged more then you think. Maybe it would be wise to first drive slow and carefully before you push it to the limit. Maybe it is even better to never reach that maximum speed. And maybe it would be a good idea to visit Norway. Just because it is worth it.

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