I have just come back online after spending two weeks on vacation with my family and that experience was strangely similar to my experiences on IT projects. Here is what I mean.
They both begin with a plan, an itinerary of all the great places and experiences that should happen during the trip or project. You have plans, printouts, e tickets, everything is all set and ready to go. This is going to be the best trip because you are the most prepared.
You a confronted by legacy and ruins. In the case of traveling through Europe these are right in front of you. You have to wonder why so much of it was torn down and you imagine what it must have been like back in the day. Likewise on a project you have to deal with legacy and more importantly legacy decisions about what was left to stand what you can change.
It’s too hot. The weather cooperates almost too much. Too much sun, too much heat, too many people all of whom had the same idea. Managing the crowd on the project is as bad as maneuvering your way through the vacation crowds.
They are twice as expensive as you expect, particularly as there are hidden charges/ costs everywhere. A third person charge on the hotel room, a per head service charge at a restaurant, a new upgrade of software required, a missing process, it all adds up.
You meet new people and learn new things, particularly about other ideas on what to do on vacation. The grass looks greener, their plans sound better than yours and you begin to think about changing mid project.
Everything takes longer than you expect because everyone is behaving like this is the first trip, or project they have ever done. People have to teach themselves things you know they know, get to know you even through all you asked them was which way to the forum.
No one speaks your language yet everyone is sure the they know exactly what you need to do, if only you will listen and do what they say.
Nothing goes as planned, a train magically disappears, things that should be open are closed, requirements go missing, it is impossible to do what you planned. This is about the time that someone reminds you that you are on holiday.
You create mounds of documentation and pictures of just about everything. Someone much of what you really want you can’t find. I wish we got a picture of this, or why did we save our receipts from that. It’s seems that what you have is fine, but what you really need no one seems to capture.
Despite all of this, the trip comes to a close. Your tired, happy, filled with experiences and memories and looking forward to your next trip. All in all it was a great thing to do and you are glad that you did it, the project and the trip. Maybe not Italy in July next time, maybe not Internet CRM, but who knows.
My thanks to my family who put up with me.
All the best to everyone who is still looking to fit in some vacation for the rest of the summer. Enjoy.