Nervous, Excited – from Washington State to Chennai, India (Day 1)

For the weeks leading up to my trip to visit my colleagues across the world I was socializing my visit with my team as well as anyone else who’d listen.  I talk a lot, and I talk even more when I am nervous.  And I was, nervous that is.  For the past decade of my life I had built and operated a company.  It was a war of the roses – love, hate, the whole ball of wax, but the business model kept me close to home – the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Ever since Mike became my new boss, I’d had a new role and essentially a new take on what it meant to be part of a company.  While I matured quite nicely with some things in my professional career – on others I was lagging behind.  I am now the VP Worldwide Scrum Business supporting a global sales and delivery team here at CollabNet.  As Dom (our VP and GM of Europe) told me “That Worldwide means that you’re new KPI is Frequent Flier miles.”  With this trip I’d earn the Premier Executive Status with United Airlines (for those who don’t know what that means – it gives me access to those nice lobbies in the airports and means I’ve flown 50,000 miles in the last 5 months). 


None of that really mattered to my daily standup teamlet.  They were happy to hear for the 24th time in as many days that I was on my way.  Since May I’ve been to Europe four times, but travel to India for those of us from North America is quite different – a lot of shots, medications, and stories.  From the veterans who’d gone through it they all had the stories.  It reminded me a lot of when my wife and I had our first baby.  At that exciting and nerve wracking time in our lives we heard a lot of baby stories – do this, watch out for that…really a universal equalizer.  People would literally stop us at the grocery store and give advice.   As it related to going to India, the most powerful story came from my new CEO.  In Orlando, at Agile 2010, he told the grim tale as he escaped unharmed from a head on car crash when he was on a similar tour through India years earlier.  None of these stories helped me relax, they instead heighted my senses and anxiety which tends to drive those around me a little batty. 


The travel to Chennai from Washington State is gruesome.  Leaving at 0930 AM Friday Morning I arrived to the Hotel  Le Royal Méridien at 0130 Sunday morning.  Three planes, two nights, and about 9,500 miles traveled. 


It’s now Sunday, October 03, 2010 (local time) and I just finished breakfast.  After writing this blog I’ll catch up on some reading on Agile and Lean stuff by Larman and Vodde and then work on a customer proposal in the evening. The nervousness is gone.  I’m here, it’s all good, and I am thrilled to see my colleagues at the office tomorrow morning and I’m in a place I thought I’d never get a chance to visit  – welcome to Chennai.   


Laszlo Szalvay

Laszlo Szalvay is one of the foremost Scrum experts in the software industry. At CollabNet he oversees the company’s global Scrum business, helping organizations adopt and scale Scrum-based initiatives to drive productivity and quality improvements. He creates engagement frameworks to forge lasting Agile-process transformations at customer sites, using a personal approach to teaching and implementing Lean/Agile/Scrum processes as a means of achieving greater IT agility. He is expert at leading successful distributed Agile environments (usually with an Indian or Chinese offshore model), and addressing cultural nuances, replication issues, and capital and headcount resource requirements. Prior to CollabNet, Szalvay co-founded and led operations for Danube, a leader in Scrum tools and training, before it was acquired by CollabNet. He is an active industry thought leader, having written and contributed hundreds of articles, presentations and blogs on improving software delivery through Scrum. Since mid-2010, Szalvay has traveled more than 330,000 miles throughout Europe, Asia and North America, working with CollabNet customers and partners to gain a unique perspective of the complexities and success strategies of a globally distributed software organizations.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Agile
3 comments on “Nervous, Excited – from Washington State to Chennai, India (Day 1)
  1. Danny Dishon says:

    I feel for you Lazlo!! We made 2 different trips to Ehtiopia, first to get Mekdes, then a year later to get Abel And Samree. Same scenario, 3 planes and 30 hours of travel later (who knows what day it is). we were there. I would highly recommend flying Emirates to Dubai for your trips to Africa and India. Great airlines and lots of connnections out of Dubai. Have fun on the remainder of your trip!!

  2. I can definitely empathize with you. I travel from Seattle, WA to Mumbai often. Next year travelling to Chennai. But am native Indian, so I have family to look forward to. In Chennai on business for Collabnet. I didn’t know Collabnet had an office Chennai.

  3. Laszlo Szalvay says:

    @Danny – hey Danny! Great to hear from you. Sorry for the S L O W response, we recently switched to wordpress which is a much more familar platform for me.

    @Ganeshram – CollabNet has over 100 full time employees in Chennai. Our office locations are here:

    PS – I have visited all of them this year – I think…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *