Hudson Bay start

I like good stories, the Hudson Bay story is one of my favourites. Johanna Rothman tells this story in her excellent book Manage IT.

“The Hudson Bay Start approach was originated by the Hudson Bay Company in the 1600–1700s in north eastern Canada. The Hudson Bay Company outfitted fur traders. To make sure the traders hadn’t forgotten anything they needed, they left Hudson Bay and camped just a few miles away.

By making camp just a few miles away, the traders ensured they hadn’t forgotten any tools or supplies—before they abandoned civilization. With just a short start to their journey, they had a better idea about their ability to endure the winter.

The Hudson Bay start is applicable to our world of software. See it as mini-phase, iteration, or sprint in your project plan. It’s not a waste of time or resources! Just run a “Hello World” program through your whole development process in your organisation. You will learn a lot by doing this exercise.

How would you react to someone who says: Look we have a 12 – 18 months project, don’t expect me to spare a day doing a Hello World exercise. (slap!)


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