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An agile city break

Using an agile approach to plan your holiday

I spent this morning planning a holiday and increasingly recognised how much agile principles I use day to day at Clarasys influence what I do with my personal time. So, this is how I broke down the problem and there are definite similarities to how we help our clients.

What's my scope?

Well, I had a free weekend in December and didn't have too many holiday days left - this limited my scope to a long weekend somewhere in Europe. To break it down a little more, I decided my goals were a city break with plenty of activities served by a relatively short and inexpensive flight.

What's my weekend roadmap?

What did I want to do over the weekend and how did the pieces of the jigsaw fit together? Well, I want to eat in some good restaurants, I'd like to visit some cool bars, I'd like learn about the city and I'm a football fan - it just so happens that there's a football match in town so I have a dependency that I need to plan into the weekend. So, I wrote a simple holiday roadmap with those high level activities placed over the mornings, afternoons and evenings of the weekend.

How do I fill my days/ sprints?

How do I prioritise what I do? I broke this down into categories such as bars, restaurants and general activities then started to research what I could place into each of these buckets. So, I prioritised the top restaurants I found online, some of the coolest bars and the activities I could squeeze in - each bucket having around 4 or 5 to choose from. I don't need to commit to any of these just yet, I can plan these out in detail during the days coming up towards the holiday and then book my restaurants if it's particularly hard to get a reservation.

What if things change?

Well, I may have an amazing meal and decide to go the same place for lunch the next day, fine. Would I prioritise that over my afternoon football match, maybe not... I may be having a great time in a cool bar on Friday night, fine. What do I have on my roadmap on Saturday morning and would I prioritise staying out over my aspirational morning run around the local lake, probably...

I have roadmap that I'd like to stick to and I've done as much planning as I'd like to do at this stage, there are plenty of unknowns to navigate. But, I want to be flexible to the unexpected, that's part of the fun of a city break.

Why does it matter?

I often have conversations with clients about how much we are able to plan with certainty and how much we can be flexible to learning (and sometimes failing) fast. I find that a well thought through roadmap gives us the backbone we need to support the project but also the flexibility to change our minds and adjust to the needs of our stakeholders and our customers. How do you plan your holidays and how does that compare to how you're planning your projects to deliver success?

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