What I learned from Round 7

My engineering teams work in 2 week cycles called ‘sprints’. At the end of each sprint we conduct a retrospective meeting where we look at the data from our sprint and decide as a group what’s working well and what isn’t, what we want to change and how will we measure the results of that change. This is all part of our continuous improvement program – there’s always a better way we can be doing things. We start the meeting generating observations about the sprint, flesh out the detail so we all understand them and then agree 3 or 4 actions that we’ll carry out as a team.

I recently added some Product Owner training (a Product Owner is best thought of as the voice of the customer in an engineering team. They have other responsibilities too but that’s for a different post) at work and thought that one of the techniques that was shown would make a good retrospective… so here we are, the Empathy Map (with thanks to Marc Abrahams to introduced me to the idea in the training). An Empathy Map is typically used to consider how a potential user of a product might think about, see, hear and feel a product. I thought that as I would be mapping a physical activity and the different topics were also physical it might be a good fit.

Here we go…

Seeing

  • I could see that after quite a bit of rain that day the track was drying. Although it looked dry there was still a small puddle at Turn 6 which Garry, who had driven in Heat 1 warned me of.
  • It was getting dark and quickly too. I couldn’t see very much, especially around the back.
  • My line in Turn 9 wasn’t as good as it usually is – I was turning in to late which meant that I wasn’t getting a good exit and slower speed down the straight.
  • The GoPro footage is very wobbly – I’m not sure if this is down to not using 4k or the mounting point.

Saying

  • Starting my evening with the 3rd race allowed me to talk to other drivers about where the track was still wet. It had rained for pretty much most of the day and only stopped an hour or so before we started. Luckily, the track was mostly dry apart from a few small puddles here and there.
  • While we were waiting for the drivers briefing in the clubhouse, several of the drivers wanted to know how my laptimer works so we talked about that for a bit and I showed them some of the charts.
  • After the first qualifying I was talking to myself inside my helmet about having qualified 6th again and that anything was better! I soon regretted that thought when I qualified 7th in the next race!

Thinking & Feeling

  • I was definitely thinking that I was faster in Turn 1 and was getting the hang of it.
  • The driving standards were much better than last month and there were only a few warnings shown.
  • I kept wondering if my lap timer was working. I gave it a quick look before I got in the Kart and it looked ok but it didn’t actually record any laps in the end.
  • Just like always, I was excited to get going and having to wait for the 3rd heat I started to get tense too.
  • If I could qualify in front of more drivers I’d be able to keep up with them better. Any position I make in qualifying is one I don’t need to make up in the race.
  • My Racecraft is getting better! I only lost one position down to not guarding my line, when Steve got through on the inside at Turn 4.

Hearing

  • There was a lot of engine noise but not a lot of tire squeal!
  • The 4 drivers at the top of the championship were doing a lot of talking about positions and who was most likely to claim the top spot.
  • At the end of the evening, Eric, one of the staff complemented me on my driving and how it I was making progress each month which made me feel good about myself.

With all that thinking it was time to pick 2 or 3 actions to make sure I carry through to next week. With one of my teams we’d usually do some voting so that everyone agrees which are the important things but as it’s just me I just chose them based on what I thought would make the most impact.

The start of my first race of the night and it was already pitch black!

Actions

  • I will invest a bit more time into prepping the LapTimer app and making sure it’s working before I start. I need this to work reliably as it’s the central point of this site.
  • I will review my turning in point for Turn 9 to make my driving more consistent. It’s a shame the LapTimer didn’t work as I’d have been able to see where I was turning and braking and what the impact was.
  • I will focus on my qualifying with an aim to be top 4 next month. In all cases, the Karts are already warm and I should be able to get out there and floor it from the start.
  • I will make sure the GoPro records in 4k next time and also try out a shoulder mount to see if it reduces the amount of vibration.