Skip to main content

Grilled Pizza, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Continual Improvement

Originally posted on August 6, 2020, written by Greg Smith, Director of Service Delivery and Resident Pizza Maker at OwlPoint

Like many others, I’ve recently taken up a few “COVID hobbies” to keep me occupied (and sane). After homebrewing a few gallons of root beer, I decided I needed a hobby that didn’t result in such large quantities of food that had to be consumed in a relatively short amount of time. After some thought, I landed on making pizza on the grill as my next hobby attempt. Though I’ve always liked cooking and grilling, I’d never made pizza from scratch before, let alone doing so on the grill. It seemed like it would be finicky and have plenty of opportunities to mess up. But I’ve heard that there’s no such thing as a bad pizza, so I ordered two cast iron skillets from Amazon and set about my new hobby.

Normally, when I engage in something new, I research the entirety of Google for hints, tips and what to avoid. After spending a couple of nights researching (when I could have been grilling), I decided I wasn’t going to get it perfect the first time, so I stopped the development research and aimed to deliver a MVP (Minimal Viable Pizza) while identifying improvements for next time.

I prepared the toppings my family wanted, made and kneaded the dough, oiled the pans and put the hot coals in the grill. I was ready to grill pizzas for the first time.

So the end result proved the saying that “there’s no such thing as a bad pizza”; they were pretty good, but throughout the meal my family and I identified some improvement items such as too few onions, overdone crust, too little wood-fire taste (We could only taste the meat, not the heat.). After dinner, I documented the items along with ideas on how to accomplish the improvements.

A week later, I made two pizzas on the grill implementing the improvements we’d agreed. Most of the items had positive results and the pizzas were significantly better than the first batch. We identified three new items to work on for the next batch and will continually raise the bar.

My family is certainly happy to help me work through the process, although they have asked me to stop referring to them as “stakeholders” and “consumers.” I have no doubt we will keep this momentum going and continually identify and make improvements. After all, we need something to eat while drinking all this homebrewed root beer.

What does this have to do with IT you ask? Well, sometimes you have to stop researching and planning, and start doing. There is no better teacher than experience and the best way to get experience is to get started with the mindset of continually improving as you go along. Too much time on research can turn into analysis paralysis, leading to projects on perpetual hold. No one wants to fail or make mistakes, but you will never get anywhere if you don’t take the first step.

Know where to draw the line. Take it from me, there’s no such thing as a bad pizza.

One of the first pizzas
The second batch (with much improved crust)


Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you. Roles and Responsibilities: Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance. Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables.  An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and th

Four Service Characteristics

Recently I came across several articles by researchers and experts that laid out definitions and characteristics of services. ITIL provides us with a definition that can help drive the creation of value-laden services: A means of delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without the ownership of specific costs and risks. An area that ITIL is not so clear is in terms of service characteristics. Several researchers and experts put forth that services have four basic characteristics (IHIP): ·          Intangibility—Services are the results of actions not things. They have no physical presence and represent a logical set of elements. One way to think of service is “work done for others.” ·          Heterogeneity—Also known as “variability”; services are unique items because of the mechanisms used to deliver services-that is people. Because the people element adds variability, the service is variable. This holds true especially for the v

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service". I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize: SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle. ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the