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IT Happens.

Published by Christopher Daily on May 1st, 2013 - in Business Musings, IMO

Over the last few years, I have used my blog as therapy.  To those of you who are reading this: what follows is a post that has been sitting in my draft posts since Aug 2011. At the time it felt too raw to actually publish, and I filed it away in my mind.  Given the events of a couple of weeks ago, maybe this is relevant.  Sometimes, IT happens.  Lets keep those effected by the events in Boston and Texas I our thoughts and prayers.

I have rewritten this post at least six times. I am not sure this one works either, but it is not going to get any better the longer I wait. And no, this is not about Information Technology happens.

A series of seemingly small decisions led my wife and I to be in the right place at the wrong time. Let me explain. My wife’s hobby is photography. On the morning of August 13th, she made the comment that she would have liked to have gone to the Indiana State Fair to get some shots, thinking the fair had already passed.  Most of you know what happened that day, but let me lay out how we got there.

  1. While waiting at Great Clips (No bad hair comments please. It’s too easy.), I saw a commercial for the Indiana State Fair, and realize it is going on another week. I decided to see if Tina wanted to go. After all, those of you that know me realize that I need all the suck up points I can get.
  2. After discussing it, we decide to leave about 5PM so Tina can get both day and night shots.
  3. As we are pulling in to the fair to park, Tina notices that Sugarland is playing that night. She mentions that we should see if we can get tickets.
  4. As we stroll through the livestock barns, we find ourselves near the ticket office. We decide to go ahead and see if we get tickets.
  5. As we are standing in line at the ticket office, we are approached by a guy asking if we are looking for two tickets. He says his tickets are in row 17, and he will let us have them for less than face. I pull my cash out and we are going to row 17 in the grandstand.
  6. When we go to our seats in row 17 of the grandstand, I find someone sitting in our seats. I go to find an usher, who promptly tells me we are in Row 17 of the track seats. I am thinking to myself what a deal. Tina should be able to get some pretty good shots from there.
  7. We find our seats, and Tina starts playing with her camera by taking some pictures of Sara Baralles. After she finishes her set, the stage hands start to set up the stage for Sugarland. As they appear to be finishing up, a guy comes on stage and tells us where to go if we should be instructed to evacuate. As he finishes, Tina asks if we should go ahead and move to the coliseum to avoid the rush. The dark clouds are coming.
  8. I agree.
  9. We leave our seats and get half way back toward the exit to the track. We turn around to see the stage collapse.
What happened next is a blur. As the events of that night cycle through my head for the millionth time, I wonder what should we have done differently. Looking back on the nine steps that led us to the point of being in the right place at the wrong time, each individual choice we made was solid. What we couldn’t count on was a seemingly random act happening. We couldn’t know that a wind sheer was going to topple the rigging around the stage. Whether my wife’s intuition, instinct, or the voice in her head told her we needed to go, the decision to stay two minutes longer could have resulted in injuries to either one of us.
My point to telling this is that, within the Agile community, we talk about failing early and often. We have reviews, and retrospectives. We set ourselves up for stakeholders and users to tell us what we did wrong. It takes courage to put your actions and decisions out where they are visible to others. Yet, we also need to keep in mind that IT happens. Whether by divine intervention or just random events, sometimes you find yourself in the right place at the wrong time. You don’t have to change how and why you made the decisions. You make decisions based on the info we have at the to time. Who could have predicted that the stage was going to collapse that night? Certainly not the sponsors or the innocent victims.
The same applies in our business lives as well.  Sometimes IT happens.  When it does, take comfort in what you did right, learn from what went wrong, and move on.
Thanks for coming in today.

2 Responses

  1. Mike Lombard says:

    Great post Chris. Glad you and Tina weren’t injured.
    You are getting philosophical in your old age kid.

  2. Glenn Dowdy says:

    When someone asks me about where I was on 9/11, I usually start with “I was about to go to the airport when Chris Daily said to me, “You need to look at the TV….”. ”

    Dude, really??

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