Late-Night Amsterdam Encounters 1

Corridor, Underwear, and a Stun Gun: Lessons in Communication and Agile Development

Eduardo Alvim

10/10/20234 min read

So, there was this night... I worked my tail off during the day, as I always do on my frequent business trips to Amsterdam. My only desire was to return to the fancy and very well-known hotel I've come to know so well, take a shower (or maybe a bath, if I'm feeling fancy), and just unwind. Dining out? Nah, not tonight! When you're alone and too tired to explore the culinary wonders of a big city, Uber Eats becomes your trusty sidekick.

After enjoying a deliciously mid-warm dinner, specially prepared just for yours truly (the Uber Eats restaurant even wrote it on the package), I was all set to continue my rendezvous with a good book and gradually slip into the arms of Morpheus. Little did I know that this night would be anything but ordinary.

Around 3 a.m., I heard a persistent knocking at my door. Initially, I paid it no mind, as I was deeply lost in dreamland, and the mere thought of taking the epic ten-step journey from my bed to the door seemed like a quest of Lord of the Rings proportions. But the knocking persisted, and finally, I roused myself from slumber and made my groggy way to the door.

I cracked it open just a smidge, not wanting anyone to see me in my shirtless, underwear-clad glory. To my surprise, I was met by three police officers—all women—and a hotel receptionist. One of the officers issued a polite order: "Please come outside, sir!" My drowsy response? "I don't want to, and I'm in my underwear." That's when the officer, a tad more sternly this time, brought her hand near what I assumed was a stun gun and reiterated, "Please, come outside, sir!" My reply? "Of course!”. Mostly because, surely, it's rude not to help someone who's asking so gently!" So, I stepped out into the corridor.

Now, picture this: I stood there, in the midst of a fancy and renowned hotel, shirtless and sporting only my underwear, facing three policewomen and a hotel receptionist. Then came the third question: "Who's there with you, sir?" My response: "No one. I'm completely alone." The fourth question: "I'm not going to ask twice, sir! Who's there with you?" To which I promptly replied, "No one! If you want, you can enter to check!" So, one of the officers ventured into my room.

There I was, still in the same precarious state, while she investigated my room—probably the longest ten seconds of my life. My gaze wandered to the corridor's ceiling, which, oddly enough, seemed quite fascinating at that moment. She eventually stepped out and declared, "Indeed, there is no one there with him." The other officers, hands no longer hovering near their guns, flashed satisfied but slightly peculiar smiles and said, "I'm sorry, sir, wrong room!" Then they left. It took me a few moments to fully process everything that had just transpired. I returned to my room and drifted back to sleep. And no, it wasn't a prank!

But let's dig a little deeper into this surreal experience. As I lay there, trying to make sense of it all, it struck me that there are valuable lessons hidden beneath the layers of absurdity. Lessons that relate not only to my unexpected encounter with the "fashion police" but also to the broader realms of Agile Development, Product Development, and Customer Centricity.

In the world of Agile Development, effective communication is paramount. The miscommunication that led to my surreal midnight encounter serves as a humorous reminder of how easily things can go awry when information isn't conveyed clearly. Agile teams thrive on transparency and open communication. Daily stand-up meetings, where everyone has a chance to speak, ensure that everyone's on the same page, reducing the chances of mishaps like the one I experienced.

Product Development, too, benefits from a thorough understanding of customer preferences. Just as I like my hotel room chilly, others might prefer a warm and cozy environment. The freezing surprise I encountered upon entering my room highlights the importance of catering to diverse customer needs. In Product Development, conducting market research and user testing is crucial to ensure that your product aligns with the expectations of your audience.

The absurdity of my hotel mishap also underscores the significance of Customer Centricity. A customer-centric approach means putting the customer at the heart of everything you do. In my case, a breakdown in the hotel's customer-centric processes led to a comical mix-up. But in the business world, such errors can have serious consequences, eroding trust and damaging reputations.

So, what are the key takeaways from this unusual escapade?

  • Clear Communication: In Agile Development, open and transparent communication is essential. Ensure that all team members understand their roles and responsibilities to avoid confusion and missteps.

  • Understanding Customer Needs: In Product Development, conduct thorough market research and user testing to cater to a diverse range of customer preferences. You don't want your customers experiencing a "chilling" surprise!

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Embrace Customer Centricity by creating feedback loops and training staff to prioritize customer satisfaction. Avoid "wrong room" scenarios by putting customers first.

In conclusion, my late-night adventure may have been a comedy of errors, but it holds valuable lessons for Agile Development, Product Development, and Customer Centricity. So, the next time you find yourself in a bewildering situation, remember to look for the humor and the wisdom hidden within.

Stay tuned for more tales of unexpected encounters and the business lessons they bring. After all, sometimes, it's the most bizarre experiences that teach us the most profound lessons.

Stay Agile !