C-3P0 Timebox

Standby Autograph with C-3POMy family and I recently went to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. My wife was extra excited because it was going to be "Star Wars" weekend at Hollywood Studios while we were there. Imagine parades filled with Star Wars characters, Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers everywhere...and the force being with us (or maybe not). My wife was very excited when she found out she had a chance to get a picture taken with and get an autograph from Anthony Daniels of C-3PO fame. This is how it was to go down. When the park opened, a predefined amount of tickets would be given to those people standing in a line. Once those tickets were gone, there were 30 remaining "standby" tickets. There would be two autograph sessions, lasting one hour each. IF Mr. Daniels got through the "guaranteed" group of ticket holders in less than one hour, he would then start to greet the standby ticket holders in the order in which they arrived that morning. We were standby ticket holders #19, #20, and #21 (out of 30). Everyone was required to stand outside in the sun until their ticket number was called. They were then allowed into an air conditioned building to meet C-3PO. When they were done, the "beaming" fan exited the building.

Well, the morning session (in close to 90 degree heat) came and went. The first 10 or so standby ticket holders did get in. We were told to return in the afternoon. Upon returning in the afternoon, the guaranteed group came and went and as we watched the clock tick closer and closer to the one hour mark, they accepted standby after standby. We had convinced ourselves that certainly Mr. Daniels would understand that there were only a few people left in line and would stay the extra 5-10 minutes it would take to greet us and sign a quick autograph. Unfortunately, after #17, a representative walked outside and told us that Mr. Daniels had to leave for another scheduled engagement.

At first, I was pretty pissed. Seriously? He couldn't accept just a few more people and get through 100% off ALL of the people standing in line? No, later I thought about it. He had a timebox. He had exactly two one-hour sessions. He was going to get through as many autographs as he could but he still had to leave after one hour, regardless. He agreed to sign a specific amount of autographs and he met that commitment... and he exceeded it.

Have you had that situation happen to you as either a ScrumMaster, Project Manager, or Stakeholder? As a stakeholder you feel ripped off because someone else got something delivered and you didn't. As a ScrumMaster, you have to allow the team to commit to do the work. You can't force work upon them. As a Project Manager, you have to explain to everyone that if you let the time constraint slip, you would be asked to do that every time there was a commitment. You've heard it before. Please, just one more thing. Please, just one more day.

Mr. Daniels, you did the right thing. You kept your commitment. If that gig as protocol droid doesn't work out for you, I'd hire you.