Sep 04

The Long Drive to Pagudpud

One of the 10 SAFe Lean Agile Principles is “Make value flow without interruptions”.

If your Value Stream (has “Steps to Value”) contains a lot of flow decelerators (i.e., non-value-add steps, bottlenecks, processes that are taking unnecessarily long, etc.), then the flow of value is negatively impacted — due to too many interruptions to flow — and so are the customers (i.e., the Wait time (Lead time) — for them to have the value in their hands–  is longer than need be).

The same is true in life… interruption to flow is a waste! Example: interruptions to flow of value, flow of thought, flow of work, flow of traffic, etc.

Going back to uninterrupted flow — wherein one is engaged in a mental state of extreme focus on an activity where the work feels effortless, and time passes quickly  —  will take time.

Our drive to Pagudpud was excruciatingly long — 15 hours! Too many interruptions to traffic flow.

Early commute is the best when driving in the Philippines: traffic is light. The flow of traffic is uninterrupted. The NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) is awesome. Long ago, when I was a young man, there is no NLEX! Just local roads. Can you imagine the traffic back then? Heavy.

We were “in the zone”… we were in the “flow”…  traffic was light! But we must mind our speed… “contactless apprehension” is in place… speed cameras everywhere. So, we cannot “Optimize our time in the zone” by ramping up our speed.

So… we just cruised. Easy driving. The “Rest Area” along the major highways in the Philippines is much like New Jersey’s… and much unlike North Carolina’s. The “Rest Area” has Gas Stations and Fast Foods like Jollibee, Starbucks, local favorites like Chowking, Max’s, and many more.

To me, stopping by a “Rest Area” is a pleasant and invigorating interruption. We went to Starbucks for breakfast.

TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan Luzon Expressway) is also awesome. Just like NLEX, this used to be non-existent. Just local roads. Super traffic back then. But… during our drive, we got held back by the “Flooded Highway” — due to a typhoon. Two hours of delay… cars were crawling… at some point the highway was like a parking lot (i.e., not a single car moved an inch) for at least 30 minutes.

Flooded highway

Highway became a Parking Lot

The “Typhon” exposed a problem: the highway is prone to flooding! This must be fixed, ASAP, by the owners of this highway. This “exposure” of problem is similar to a famous saying in Lean: “Lowering WIP surfaces problems”.

Load Type (Work Type) can also slow down the flow. This interesting event on the highway caught my eyes and attention… made the traffic slow…but interesting: a hut with people inside — we saw them all smiling and chatting as we eventually passed them by —  at the back of a mini flat-bed truck!

Another pleasant interruption for me are the side-trips…

Clean Beach at La Union

After TPLEX, there are no more expressways… just local roads… just heavy traffic. As such, flow got interrupted all the time.

Another side-trip: we saw Vigan at night. Vigan has the “Old Spanish Town” vibe.

15 hours later… we arrived at Fort Ilocandia Resort (FIR). Night.

We were tired. Ate a bit.

Although —  with our drive — we saw a lot of interesting spots, we swore that the next time we go to this place, we will fly [with the Philippine Airlines]. The constantly interrupted flow of traffic — making this drive unnecessary long — is a deal breaker. An  expressway end-to-end… or a bullet train end-to-end would be a great project for the government or private sector to undertake in the near future. Anyway, with the Philippine Airlines, it is only 49 minutes to 1 hour end-to-end… for next time… if ever…

Pagudpud is 1.5 hours from Fort Ilocandia Resort (FIR).

Key Idea: Make value flow without interruptions. Remember, value must be in the hands of the customer at the least sustainable lead time. Find out what can accelerate or impede the flow of value… then eliminate impediments to flow.

My succeeding posts are about my family’s travel to the Philippines and Australia… and we are taking SAFe and the Lean Agile Way of Working/Living with us… and see how others outside of the USA are doing with the Lean Agile Way of Working/Living. Each post will have a Key Idea for you to ponder upon if you wish.

There are many other ideas like this — short but sweet ideas —  in my new book, ‘SAFe (6.0) Is like …’ . It is available on Amazon… and it has reached ‘# 1 New Release’ several times! Check it out.



About The Author

CE, MBA, Lean Agile Coach, Trainer, Teacher, SPC, RTE, PSM, PMI-ACP, PMI-PBA, PMP, CC, ABNLP NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner, NLP Coach, NLP Trainer, Practical Psychologist, Life Coach, Software Executive, Entrepreneur, Author, Investor, and Innovator with a Creative, Lean, Agile, and Wander mindset.

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