How many times have you left a team planning meeting and thought to yourself, " I know what we are doing, no problem..." and then you hit the end of the sprint and you hear the very line you absolutely hate "but that's not what I asked for.."
I will put my hands up and say I have been in that situation before, and if anyone knows me well enough, right there and then I would start thinking in my head, "what did I do wrong? was it me? Should I have done it this way??" Well, that's one possible way of looking at it, but, what's to say that others in the team had a misconception about the aim of the project or goal? Well, this has happened a number of times in teams which I have worked with in the past....well... bar one, why you ask? Because we learnt how to make Spaghetti Bolognese!
So we had finished our sprint, we had done our demo, retrospective, and now were heading straight into planning, BUT... before we started planning our next two weeks worth of work, my scrum master basically told everyone to pick up a pen and a post it note and in silence write down all the ingredients you would need to make Spaghetti Bolognese . OK, so what's the first thing you think when you hear that, I know my first thoughts were, Are you serious? But hey...it's all about trust right? So I did the task, and the outcome was to quite an eye opener, well for me at least, since I was only in my first year of work and still had a lot to learn.
Every single person had a different idea of how you make Spaghetti Bolognese. One person wrote: "You need: Spaghetti, meat, tomatoes sauce." another person wrote "You need: Spaghetti, meat, tomatoes, sauce, carrots, onions, mushrooms" etc...I think you see the pattern. Now you can totally hit be back with this and say, "...but hold on, everyone can learn from a different recipe..." True, but the original recipe for a Spaghetti Bolognese was made only one way. So if someone says to you "...can you make a Spaghetti Bolognese?...", technically they are not saying make me Spaghetti Bolognese the way Deliah Smith makes it or the way that Jamie Oliver makes it...see where i am going with this? Every one has assumed they know how to create the perfect Spaghetti Bolognese, yea in their own head, but is that what you were asked to make?
The point I am trying to make is that everyone's conception is different. Let's take software development as an example, there's what should be developed and then there is what is developed, and if your not careful, the outcome and expected outcome and be completely different. So next time you are in a planning meeting whether it's for developing a feature for a system or planning a camping trip, think about it from that point of view, does everyone sitting here in this room know what the goal for this project is? If the answer is no, speak up otherwise you will all end up making different types of Spaghetti Bolognese.