Yes we can…

One part of the agile mindset is the famous “yes we can” spirit. When I started my consultancy in 1998 my tagline was: We are only limited by the limits of your imagination. The “yes we can” spirit is what I ment with my tagline. It’s a spirit that is important to me in agile.
A lot of people say “there is no I in team”, Christopher Avery turned this idea upside down with his book “Teamwork is an individual skill”. Yes agile is about being in a team, a team where all (each?) team members take responsibility to “Get Things done
Let me tell you a story about a time I wanted to go to Bordeaux. I know it is a long story, stay with me, as I think it shows what “yes we can” really means. At the end of the story, I add the “moral” of the story.
To go from my home to Bordeaux, I have to catch a train in Lille (France). This particular day I was on a train to Kortrijk, to get another train  to Lille. My train was slow and at one station a class of I guess 25 kids children got up. And a few stations later they go of. And now my train was having 10 minutes of extra delay.. Just as me on the train, you can see this coming: I lost my connection. The next train from Kortrijk to Lille was going to be to late to grab my connection in Lille (Especially as in Lille I had to switch train stations.)
I decided to grab a cab in Kortrijk. (From Drongen to Lille by car it’s one hour.)So from Kortrijk till Lille in 50 minutes that should be possible.
The cab, bad luck this one does not accept VISA, and I did not have money on me.
So we had to stop at an ATM machine along the way. We stopped at an ATM machine, with two people in line.
The first person took his time, I started to get nervous, I did not want to loose my train. The second person looked like a student. I offered my last 5 euro’s to the “student” if I could pas before her. She was very reluctant but accepted my money. When the cab drove up the highway, I knew I was in trouble, because of fog and a big traffic jam.
I started calling my partner to see if she could check if my train had any delay.
When we stopped at a traffic light close to the station, I paid the driver the requested 80 euro’s (slick)
(And I forgot to ask for a receipt)
We arrived 1 minute before the train was scheduled to lean. He was no longer listed on the board.
I knew he was still there, yet I was too late to know where…
To the information desk, 1 person before me. By the time it was my time, already 2 minutes had passed.
Ok how do I change my ticket? And what are my options to other trains to Bordeaux?
Your best option is the next train that leaves in 20 minutes. It leaves at the other station in Lille. I rushed the 6 minute walk with all my luggage.
Of to the a desk in the other station to change my ticket. There are machines that do that but I knew from experience, they did not accept my Belgium VISA card.
A long line of 10 people for 2, 3 desks with only 10 minutes left.
I ask a policemen about my options, no other options.
5 minutes later, I can switch my ticket, pay another 10 euro’s. ( it was a more expensive train.)
I rush of to the train. (Luckily the policemen had told me where it was.) I get on the train, a few seconds later, the doors close behind me.
Pfew, a few hours of at ease. Only a few, as I have to do a similar rush in Paris to switch stations. (My original train was a direct one)
Last time I did this switch I was about 20 years younger and I missed my connection.
The other station is a few miles away, my options are a cab or the metro. I use the latter. I loose some time finding the metro, buying the ticket and then finding the right platform. Again I get on the train and the doors close. This time I still have to travel half the train to get to my seat.
It’s past midnight when I arrive at my car in Bordeaux. It’s freezing cold. My car was already 4 days in the parking lot. It refused to start. Battery dead.
Luckily I had starting cables in my car.
I asked a for help to a French person that came to get his car.  5 minutes later, my car is running again.
35 minutes later I am in my apartment hotel.
Which I called during my train ride to ask for my room number and asked to leave my key in my room. As I knew that the reception would not open by the time I would be there. 20 minutes later, I moved my suitcases to my room and go to bed.
All that so I could give an agile training to my client in Bordeaux.
If I would not have made it to Bordeaux, I would have had lots of excuses, why I did not made it.
For me, not getting there was not an option. I promised to be there, so I needed to be there.
“Yes we can” means for me: taken on challenges and then make them happen. Writing software is not easy. No-one ever said it was (at least no-one I know that had experience writing software.)
The yes we can attitude, for me is about doing
Taking responsibility to do whatever is needed to get the software out of the door.