The idea of inspecting progress, inspecting and adapting, learning from doing etc
These comments and statements have come quite prevalent in today’s world of agility.
As with anything its important to understand not just the activity but the reason behind it because the activity could change depending on the context but the reason/spirit behind it stays the same.
Let us look at an every day example and draw some learning from it.
What is the first thing you do when you plan to embark on a journey to an unknown destination or one with great possibility of disruptions either due to extensive roadworks or time dependent traffic ?
If you are like me and most people you launch your satnav , be it apple maps, google maps, Waze or Here maps and then you follow a certain number of steps:
- First of all you input the post code or zip code of where you are going, then you wait for the application to confirm knowledge of said location.
- Next you look at how long it will take you to get to said location and confirm that you are up to the task
- Then you begin you journey
- Most interestingly, while driving you unconsciously regularly glance at the screen for 1 or 2 of the following reasons:
- to confirm that you are still on the right course
- to know whether or not you are ahead of the estimated time of arrival (ETA)
It is funny to note that we all do this naturally because we are aware that there are a couple of things that could change, the roads could be blocked or jammed, there could be some road diversions due to the roadworks or depending on the length of the drive, I might want to stop on the way and take a break and have a drink and possibly a meal, who knows?
Who knows!!! thats the exact reason why we keep checking because who knows?
This is the same mentality employed when we look at the world of agility.
Agile operates in what Cynefin calls the complex domain (where what is unknown is more that the known), pretty much like the drive example listed above, in this condition or situation wisdom dictates we check from time to time and we make the necessary adjustments, we inspect and adapt regularly to detect any variations and make corrections.
This is the same thing we do at the retro/daily scrum etc, we inspect and adapt, we confirm that we are on course. By so doing we limit the risk of missing the mark to the duration between checks (cadence).
Imagine a situation where you set the course, turn off voice guidance and then only check every 30 minutes, you might be fantastic at reading and following road signs but in the off chance that you are not, can you imagine the risk?
What if you went down the wrong road 25 minutes into your journey, that means you are now 25 minutes off the route , can you imagine how painful and discouraging that would be?
its the exact same reason why we have the events and even look at how to make them effective as they serve as confirmation touch points (feedback loops) thereby reducing and possibly eliminating the risk of missing our way.
Without these events our efforts would be riddled with errors and we would experience risk way beyond our risk appetite.
So what am I saying if I am saying anything…the statement inspect and adapt holds so much power and we should at every time inspect and adapt so that we can not only limit risk but guide ourselves to successful outcomes.
INSPECT AND ADAPT AWAY my people…
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