Snow Removal From an Agile PM Perspective

Snow Removal From an Agile PM Perspective

This weekend, our house at the lake received about 30 inches of snow.  It was pretty overwhelming.  Our HOA at Lake Linganore did a very good job and I’m going to tell you why.  Two significant snowfalls ago, we waited 2 days before we saw the first snowplow.  We didn’t hear anything out of the HOA.  Days later, the residents got an email from the HOA saying threatening telephone calls and emails  didn’t help and to please refrain from doing it in the future.  They believed they did the best they could with the resources they had.

I thought they could have done better.  I sent a very pleasant email to the HOA thanking them for their efforts.  A few days later, I sent a followup email with a proposal:  At the next snow storm, I recommended the HOA send out emails, informing the residents of the progress being made.  Whenever I don’t like how a product or service was provided to me, I try to offer constructive feedback.  The next storm came, and this time, so did the emails.  There were only a few but they were very clear.  They outlined the priorities of the snow removal.  Main arteries were of highest priority.  The side streets would be tended to when they could.  This time, some residents got stuck before making it to their homes.  They abandoned their vehicles, and unfortunately, a group of vehicles got hit by a snowplow.

Though it took a few days, the HOA came and plowed us out.  Other than those who had damaged vehicles, the tone in the neighborhood was very much improved.  We understood the priorities and respected them.  The communications is what we valued the most.

This weekend, we had an even bigger storm then the last.  This time, the HOA revised their process.  We got emails a day before the snow arrived.  They advised us to get off the roads by a certain time and identified where to park to avoid getting hit by a plow.  We were also provided a list of the highest priorities in order of importance and grouped by need to have and want to have.  Lastly, we received regular emails notifying us of progress or impediments and who could expect to be plowed out next.

Here are a few successes

  • They listened to customer feedback
  • The process was refined, based on user feedback
  • A list of objectives was made and circulated, identifying items of greatest value
  • Regular communications

We received a status report this evening.  In it, we were advised another storm is on its way.  Though the community will be completely plowed by the time it arrives, we were assured the HOA will keep us informed. They added, snow removal operations will be reviewed to see what went right and what when wrong this time around and apply those lessons learned to the next storm.

Did your snow removal go as smoothly this time around?

I would love to hear your comments or stories.

Regards,

Derek

8 Replies to “Snow Removal From an Agile PM Perspective”

  1. hey Derek,maybe so but there still appears to be a large consensus that one, either the snow team is under staffed or two they have inadequate equipment for this size of project or three both .its easy to pass judgment from afar,but we absolutely need a different approach.

    1. Pat, you make a very valid point and I would probably agree with you. Based on the velocity of snow removal, the size of the team(s), and the equipment used, the HOA should now review what went right, wrong, or could improve. But with any Agile process, we as customers need to keep the vendor informed so we get the most benefit for the cost. We should refine the process, not replace it.

  2. hey Derek,maybe so but there still appears to be a large consensus that one, either the snow team is under staffed or two they have inadequate equipment for this size of project or three both .its easy to pass judgment from afar,but we absolutely need a different approach.

    1. Pat, you make a very valid point and I would probably agree with you. Based on the velocity of snow removal, the size of the team(s), and the equipment used, the HOA should now review what went right, wrong, or could improve. But with any Agile process, we as customers need to keep the vendor informed so we get the most benefit for the cost. We should refine the process, not replace it.

    1. Since originally writing the post, our HOA has continued to send their emails. They admitted they were going to have to cut back to the “NEED to clear” not the “WANT to clear”. At least we knew the most important roads would be either cleared or treated. I give them credit for doing what they could, in the time allowed. Hope your back starts to feel better. This one is for the record books.

    1. Since originally writing the post, our HOA has continued to send their emails. They admitted they were going to have to cut back to the “NEED to clear” not the “WANT to clear”. At least we knew the most important roads would be either cleared or treated. I give them credit for doing what they could, in the time allowed. Hope your back starts to feel better. This one is for the record books.

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