Lisa Crispin‘s article about her team not being special (We’re Not ‘Special’) reminded me of something I heard a few times in the past: Me being lucky in being were I am.
And it’s true: I was lucky a few times: In 2009 (if I remember correctly) I went to a presentation at Lehmann’s (@Lehmanns in case you prefer Twitter) where, apart after a great presentation about Scrum and during the discussion and socializing part someone from the Xing team told me about the Agile Testing Days later that same year. Sure enough, I went there — and met a whole lot of exciting (and excited) people there. The connections to colleagues from all over the world also was worth going there.
So yes, I was lucky meeting the person who would give me the information I needed.
However, to me at least, being at the presentation was not lucky or coincidental at all: It took me a 200km drive by car to get there and another 200km drive to get home again.
So was it sheer luck? I don’t think so. In fact I truly believe that in order to be lucky, one needs to go to the places where it happens.
There have been other times I was lucky: Being (kind of) dragged into a dinner of a conference (the same one as above, BTW), was another time I was there, ready to be lucky: Someone asked me whether I’d like to join dinner. Of course I did and had a great time. A great time until someone asked me about the presentation I would give, and someone else then asked me whether I knew that this was the speakers dinner. Oopsie, I didn’t know! I found that was embarrassing, even though everyone else thought it was amusing. Now, a while later, it’s certainly a funny story to tell.
I think that to be lucky, you need to go out and be there, be present in a context where you’d like to be lucky: This might be a local user group gathering, some conference … or twitter (for this also see my post over at Zen & the Art of Automated Testing). Did I mention that I was lucky to find a cool new project via Twitter? Well, I did. 🙂
In other words: It’s work and you (well, I at least) will have to pay a price to be lucky and I totally find it worth the hassle.
Now go out there and get lucky. And if you’re lucky in getting lucky you may become happy as well. Good Luck!
That said, I think Lisa’s team might in fact be special, but not in the way Lisa is frustrated about: To me it seems special because of the hard work, experiments and continuous improvements it went though. In this (may be special) sense they’re special and lucky.