Call to Adventure and Iteration Zero

Sometimes  you just have to jump

Sometimes you just have to jump…

Have  you ever had a call to adventure? A challenge to do something new, exciting and different? Perhaps it was a holiday or a new job? The truth is we get them ALL THE TIME. Sometimes, we don’t even notice them. Sometimes we do and we don’t take them for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we wish we did.


Sometimes we jump at them without even thinking.

And that’s really what The Agile Project Manager is all about. Even though, I had been thinking about this concept for over six months, as soon as I answered the call, I jumped in boots and all. Agile concepts applied to projects and all aspects of life to get great results. I even had an Iteration Zero – where I planned my chapters and got some feedback from mentors. In Agile projects, Iteration Zero is the time you plan the project. Not in great detail, but at least get an idea of how long it will take and plan the first iteration in a bit more detail than the others. But you know what? My Iteration Zero was not long enough. Because when I dived into the Introduction, even though I had enough content, I WASN’T READY. I had also planned in what is known as “optimistic mode”…

How do you know when  you’re ready?

The truth is you never do. That’s why you just need to go for it at times. The great thing about Iteration Zero is that you have already decided you’re doing it, you’re just planning your next few steps. Not the whole journey (who knows what could happen?), just the first few steps. One thing you need to have in place is your team (tick) and any tools you plan on using (um, sort of). So, when I had finished writing the Introduction, I then had to spend a lot of time working out how to get a download link so I could share with my subscribers. This took time. My choices were to persist and do it myself or get someone else to do it for me. I chose the middle ground and asked for help. It’s now almost ready to go.

Allow time – it’s also okay to re-plan

I also didn’t really allow enough time. Although many of my ideas were ready to go, my research done and my content ready, I had not allowed enough time for it all to take shape and be written in a way that made sense to other people apart from me. Apparently, the unconscious mind is highly dis-organised – who knew! A very important Agile concept is the acceptance that change happens and to be ready for it. Fortunately, my mindset was ready and I took the re-planning in my stride, adjusted my schedule and continued to write.

Many projects are completely knocked for a six when something happens. Some team members may go into denial or anger. Rather than just accepting something has happened and take action to rectify the situation with a forward focus. Which is why “Knowing your Why” is such an important first chapter for The Agile Project Manager. Because if you know your why – your vision and reason for doing what you are doing – handling issues as they arise will be easy. Well… easier!

What have I learned? Heed the call to adventure, stick to my vision and accept change as it comes along. I have also identified an area that is a blind spot for me – and that is tools and processes. They simply must be in place in a way that supports what you are doing. Lucky there’s a chapter about that in the book too 🙂



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.