A Voyage of Discovery

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Projects are a bit like a voyage of discovery – you know where you want to go and have some idea of how you’re going to get there but you don’t know the details. As you move forward, you get more clarity and the more experience you have, the better chance you have of making it work.

I’m talking to you from the N Seoul Tower in South Korea, after a hard week’s work with some clients in Asia and I decided I should do a little bit of tourism. So the first question is: How do I get to the tower?

It turns out that one of the easiest ways is just an ordinary bus route. There are tourist buses but then you have to go to the right place for them and you don’t get in touch with the people. So I decide to do it that way and then I had to find out how to pay for the bus.

You can either pay the driver with money but it’s hard to talk if you don’t speak the language. Or you can get an electronic card which is really handy. So I bought the electronic card but then I discovered that it had no money on it. Apparently you have to buy the card and load it as two transactions. So that meant I had to ask somebody in the hotel to write out a message for me to show the shop telling them what to do.

Then I knew roughly where the bus stop was – it was near a metro station but although it was only maybe 10 m from the exit, it took me about half an hour to find it. I didn’t know what a bus stop looked like and I didn’t know what signs would be on it and if it was the right bus going in the right direction and so forth.

Eventually the bus came along but late. I knew something was happening because the indicator had the number of the bus and then some message different to the other buses. But I don’t know – probably to do with a delay.

Then I had to know where to get off. That was relatively easy because at the end of the route all the tourists got off and went to the Tower which is another few hundred meters away.

So that’s the way a project is and the next time I come here should be much easier:

  • I know how the cards work;
  • I know you don’t need to register them;
  • I know where you can load them;
  • I know you have to have a card;
  • I know how to find my way out of the metro station;
  • I can orient myself on the map.

So I learned a lot. Doing it another time would probably be a good bit easier which is just the way projects are.

Thanks very much and goodbye.

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