Agile to Waterfall 4. Pizza Wisdom. + CHEAT SHEET

Episode 77 - 22 Mar 2017

Last time, we improved the process in a way that reduced my cognitive load. This time we'll see if we can do something about the total workload.

At the risk of giving too much away, I hope you like pizza ;)


Mmmm. Something smells nice.

It's Saturday night. In my house, Saturday night is Pizza Night!

Usually, I make three. Sometimes two. Sometimes more, if we're expecting guests.

But I've never made half a pizza. Until today.

Won't need much flour. Sugar. Salt. Milk. Oil.

In with the water.

Kneed. Not easy with such a small lump.

Leave for a few hours to do its thing.

Roll on out.. hmm awkward. I'm aiming for a half moon.

Think I've underdone it on the quantities.

Into the tray.

Tomato sauce. Ah that's not gone well.


Into the oven.

15 mins later.

Actually, that's not gone too badly.

Little bit burnt on this exposed edge.

Let's call it edible.

What's you point?

Interesting that making half a pizza isn't half the work of making a whole one.

If anything, it was more work.

Certainly more awkward.

And the end the result.

Well, let's just say it's not up to my usual standards.

Video making

Making a video episode is kind of the same.

I've got myself a pile of ingredients that's bigger than I'd like. But an episode made from half the "ingredients" wouldn't work really work.

Each episode needs to be complete. Whole. You know: start... middle... end.

Pizza done right

Here's a pizza done properly:

  • Tray
  • Base
  • Sauce
  • Cheese
  • Toppings

That's more like it.

Hold on a second.

Rewind that.

Ok. Run it forward:

  • Not a pizza
  • Not a pizza
  • Not a pizza
  • PIZZA!

As soon as the cheese goes on... it's a pizza.

(At least it will be, once it's cooked.)

The margherita - the plain cheese and tomato pizza - is the MVP of the pizza world.

It's a Minimum Viable Pizza!

Every other pizza - with the exception of some weird variations that I don't approve of - comes from this.

It's all about the toppings.

And that was the key to looking at this pile of "ingredients" in a different way.

Let's move them around a bit:

It's no longer a pile of pain; it's now a series of layers.

  • Here's your Margherita
  • Here's your Pepperoni
  • Here's you ... American Hot.

As soon as I saw this, I immediately changed the way I make videos.

When the script is done, the audio is complete, I start work on ... a "margherita video".

I do that by creating a set of visuals that is, err... not very visual.

It's 90% plain text. Like the text you're looking at now.

It's not particularly interesting... but it's very quick to do.

Once done, I edit the Audio and the Visuals - very roughly - into a video.

At this point (and at any point after this) I could - if necessary - create the finished video. In about the time it takes to cook a pizza.

I have my margherita video. My Minimum Viable Video thing.

So far, I've never had to publish a margherita video. And I hope I never have to.

Too dull. Too boring.

A good episode needs some toppings.

So I go back and I "layer on" things like graphics, photos, clips and audio effects.

The more time I have, the more layers I'll add, and the better the episode will be.

I hope you can see what a big deal this is.

Before, the work was a constant and I had FIND the time. Even if it meant getting up at 4am

Now, the work is a variable. I can match the work to the available time. And I get to have my beauty sleep.

What about you?

Could you do me a favour?

Take a moment to think about your own work.

Is there something that you've been thinking about as a linear series of tasks that could be attacked as a series of layers?

Let me know in the comments below.


Think we're in danger of running a little long. And in any case, I have a pizza to eat.

Next time we'll wrap things up by looking at my new process through the lens of Agile.