Kata Endgame

I have to confess, much to my 11 year old son’s annoyance and frustration, I haven’t been much of a Marvel fan. But we have a family cinema night once a month, so increasingly these are rather Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) dominated. So, when I knew that we were going to see Avengers Endgame, the 22nd film in the MCU, straight after we had just seen Captain Marvel, I felt I needed to prepare to get the most out of it. I just had the Challenge of how was I going to binge watch all the other films (n=20) before Endgame to ensure I didn’t keep asking what is going on, and get maximum enjoyment of the film.

But did I need a big giant Gantt chart and wiki to tell me which film to watch first, and in which order, and a big schedule to plan it all in? Just doing that might take longer than watching a film, and you know this is for fun; not really how planning feels to me mostly. And, well, you know what they say, plans aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

Oh, look that word, Challenge. Retrospectively, how did I make this improvement in my MCU knowledge, in the style of Toyota Kata. (Thank you, Darshan for your blog suggestion).

Challenge: Know enough of the previous 21 film plots to enjoy the film on opening weekend.

Focus process: Watching the back story plots relevant to Endgame, esp. for Thor, Ironman, Black Widow, Hulk and Captain America, and the other one.

Current condition: 2 weeks before Endgame tickets, I really have only watched Captain Marvel. Guardians has been on in the same room, but in the background. We have Sky movies and Netflix. Evenings are available to watch content. My knowledge, really at the level of: who is Robert Downey Junior playing and is Gwyneth in it?

I needed a way forward to reach the Challenge, as I didn’t know how to achieve that, and I was uncertain as to what films to watch. My first Target Condition: have watched at least 2 films in the right order by end of day 3 (10 days before); pattern of work, 1 film per night.

Obstacles:

  1. Which films to watch
  2. Which films come in which order
  3. Which ones are free on demand on sky and Netflix, I’m not paying
  4. Which films can I put on, without being shouted at by everyone else in family because they have seen them before
  5. Do I have enough time? 20 films at 3 hours each… takes more than one a night
  6. Can I really be bothered? Internal motivation… I will have to have v boring convos re Marvel with 11 year old afterwards, sadly he is not into healthcare improvement.

Which obstacle first? I selected number 1, my PDSA, find out, a ‘go and see’ type of experiment really. I had high expectations I could find out. I asked around, we settled as a family on the following films: Captain America and Antman. Next experiment, get them and watch them, we were going on holiday without sky and Netflix so got then on DVD. So far so good. They were ok. Met the target condition. Learning… planning is v helpful. Slightly worried that 2 films isn’t a fast enough rate, but then, not really going on holiday to watch films.

New current condition: 1 per day on the imaginary run chart in my head, as per plan, but nagging feeling that it will be too slow to reach 20 films in 14 days.

Next target condition: another 2 films in 3 days. [perhaps a kata coach, coaching me for real, might have asked me why there, given same watch rate]. Oh dear, different obstacle, still on holiday, and no satellite or streaming, and no easy way to buy more DVDs as no mailbox, will have to wait. Revise data on new target condition, to 3 days after return home. Learning, don’t always have the equipment needed and might need to revise expectations, film watch rate too slow.

Next step: same original obstacle – which next films? Free on demand is Winter Soldier, Thor Ragnarok, and Antman and the Wasp. Choose them. Start watching immediately after tea to get more films in, and increase the watch rate. Achieve that next target condition, indeed watched an extra one, 150% delivery. Well done me. What did I learn: well, I can achieve more when I really decide to do it (oh look, that’s obstacle number 5 and 6 crossed off, I am a more worthy parent than I thought). I also learnt about end credits.

Ok, 3 days left, final target condition, to hopefully achieve my challenge, else I will have timed out. 3 more films in 3 days, should be doable based on what I have learned about my watch rate. Main obstacle, still number 1, but now enhanced. Which films do I really need to watch? My next experiment: ask 11 year old son, and ask Twitter. Responses: Hulk, Avengers Civil War, Avengers Ultron and Avenger Infinity War. Don’t worry about other films, that will be enough. A very successful Twitter test imho too. Learning: Twitter crowdsourcing can work. Thank you to those who responded. I was worried I needed to watch 3 Ironman films and 2 Guardians films, you know with the wierd talking raccoon. Excellent learning, that I didn’t need to watch them.

Start on Hulk, so far so good. Learning, I can do this. Next step: Civil war. New obstacle: Civil War not free on demand on Sky or Netflix. Learning, don’t have time for all of then anyway, skip that one, go straight to Ultron. New learning, insist the kids watch too, and don’t ask to watch something else and distract.

Target condition met, by Saturday lunch. Endgame Tickets at 2pm.

Challenge met too. Yay, me. I didn’t interrupt anyone and I understood the plot. I recognised Durham cathedral on Asgard (the carved pillars give it away) and understood the plot holes. Enough to join in the family convo afterwards… [spoiler, I still don’t get how Cap put the stones back at exactly the right time].

Awesome. Thank you, Toyota Kata for helping me learn how to think differently to meet new Challenges, at home or at work,

How do you meet your challenges?

* royalty free image

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