Agile, Project Management

#Agile road trip

As I was driving home last night from work, I thought of another analogy on why the Agile process works so well.

Trip to California

I thought back to my trip to California and how I went about planning and taking the trip. I planned the trip really at four levels:

1) Starting and Ending Points – Where was I starting from and where was I trying to get to?

2) Route – What major roads would I take?

3) Stops – Where would I stop along the way for rest, meals and recharging?

4) Detailed Directions – How to I get to routes, stops, and the end point.


When I thought about how I planned and took the trip, I confirmed the end point first. I chose the end point based upon what I wanted from a relaxing trip. Next I reviewed the possible routes and confirmed the routes very early on. These routes were chosen based upon some different criteria or requirements; speed, scenery, landmarks, and others. When it came to the stops, I did something interesting. I planned out the potential stops based on the distance travelled but only reserved the stops for the next day. (and I really only reserved meal stops two hours in advance) I figured that things may change on the trip and I may make better or worse time. No sense booking hotel rooms too early. Last responsible moment right? And then finally for the detailed directions, I again planned the potential directions at a high level, but only confirmed detailed directions for the next day. No sense about worrying when to turn left in Palm Desert when I am in Idaho right?

Looking back, I see that the road trip models an Agile project very well:

1) Starting and Ending Points – Business Value – what am I trying to achieve?

2) Route – Solution Architecture

3) Stops – Iterations/Features

4) Detailed Directions – User Stories


I can’t think of taking a trip any other way? Why would I spend time detailing and confirming the directions to a pancake house in Boise when I’m at my front door? It also saved a huge amount of rework as I consulted local highway authorities at the start of each day and avoided roads I had planned to take. Since I was travelling in iterations, there were no hotels rooms and reservations to cancel.

And then I made one really neat observation. At the end of every day I reviewed the map and route I travelled as compared to what I planned. I guess these were my first retrospectives. Once this was complete I planned my next day’s travel.

I really like this analogy and I think I’ll continue using it. 🙂

Re-posted from

About Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio has worked for Protegra for 14+ years because of the professionalism, people, and culture. Terry started as a software developer and found his technical calling in Data Architecture. Terry has helped to create Enterprise Operational Data Stores and Data Warehouses for the Financial and Insurance industries. Along the way Terry discovered that he enjoys helping to build teams, grow client trust and encourage individual career growth, completing project deliverables, and helping to guide solutions. It seems that some people like to call that Project Management. As a practical Data Modeller and Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Data Modelling and Agile. Terry considers himself a born again agilist as Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles has made him once again enjoy Software Development and believe in what can be accomplished. Terry is a fan of Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles, the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, Operational Data Stores, 4th Normal Form, and asking why


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: