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Agile and the Art of Corvette Maintenance

11-Mar-2013 17:00:00 Radtac team Agile
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A few days ago I took my Corvette C5 for an MOT. Corvy (as it is known by the family Measey) is now 13 years old, ‘classic’ as some would call it, ‘knackered’ as I would call it (similar to the author). And so unfolded a comedy of errors that brought home to me why humans must be agile in any interaction with machinery.

Talking about machinery in general (which we weren’t but………ho hum) I’m absolutely certain that printers and photocopiers have a ‘bastard’ setting and a ‘how urgent is this print / photocopy’ sensor; is it just me (usually) or does everything else mechanical in the world generally work well apart from printing assets when an urgent document is required?

 Actually, thinking about it mobile phones do this as well (urgent call required = no signal), PCs (‘urgent updates’ = blue screens), presentation pointers (middle of giving presentation = pointer stops working)… so maybe lots of key technology has a ‘bastard’ setting….hmmmmm.

Anyway back to the point (unless we’re using my presentation pointer), I took my Corvette for an MOT.

Strategic plan... Walk into MOT Station, wait for 30 mins, walk out and then drive to shops to do some urgent Christmas shopping. My strategic plan lasted approximately zero seconds as when I got into Corvy to drive to said MOT station the battery was dead, what was that loud boom sound, oh look my plan has just blown up.

OK no problem, I’d take a jumpstart off my day to day car, I just needed to drive the front of day to day car into the garage where the Corvy lives. Good plan and I did achieve the acceptance criteria of ‘can I start Corvy from a jumpstart’ pretty quickly, the only slight problem is that I whacked the freezer on the way in, I’m sure it still works, however the day to day car now has parts of freezer on it and vice versa. BTW, Eileen [wife] if you’re reading this, the freezer was definitely still working….if it has for some unconnected reason stopped working recently I bet it was those bloody Carol Singers wot done it.

Corvette C5

Well... I got to the MOT station on time to find out that it was the wrong MOT station; I then got to the right MOT station 10 mins late. I should have known when the MOT bloke looked at my Corvette and said ‘ah yes, we get a lot of Cameros in here, they’re a bit of a speciality’ that maybe this chap wasn’t exactly on the ball with American muscle cars. Anyhow, the MOT inspection started and I was given a cup of coffee, great, mellow out time.

Next thing I know the car has failed the MOT, now that in itself isn’t a problem, after all that’s the point, pass or fail. However what I wasn’t expecting is that the MOT chaps had jammed the hazard light switch in so hard that it would stick on and, because of that, the electronic ‘Head Up’ display didn’t work anymore. The explanation for this happening was that ‘all American cars (and Renault Espace’s actually) are known for having hazard light switches that stick’, funny that, I’m known for strangling people who break my things and then give dumb explanations. Boom, oh look, I’ve just blown up.

Ever tried driving a car with the hazard lights stuck on, ever tried not reacting to the 38th driver beeping and gesticulating at the moron going round the roundabout with their hazard lights on? I eventually got home, booked Corvy in with the specialist Corvette garage I already know and went shopping in the newly enhanced day to day Car/Freezer combo.

Long story short, I had to be Agile to the usual day by day annoyances and interruptions that broke my plans, however I still achieved my overall objective of going Christmas shopping and getting an MOT done. I don’t think I would have been able to do that if I’d created a detailed plan and had to keep reporting to my Project Board (the aforementioned Eileen) on progress.

What’s the point of this blog posting, well, either there is no point (like my presentation pointer) or life is Agile, Agile is life, I leave the decision on that to you.


Image source: Shutterstock

Author

Peter Measey

Peter Measey

"What I enjoy most about radtac? Our team ethic. And working with the best people on the market." Peter’s managed and contributed to the implementation of some of the largest Agile project and delivery management transformations in the UK and worldwide: think British Airways, BT, Fidelity Investments, HMCE, NHS, Nokia and Rolls Royce. Peter’s a DSDM Board Director, Certified DSDM Trainer, Certified Scrum Master, Practitioner and Trainer, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner and Prince2 Practitioner. And in between consultation and implementation duties, Peter trains and coaches teams in the UK, USA, India, China and across Europe. Read more