This is our pre-recording and episode planning board. It is where we place initial ideas to be reviewed and either turned into new episodes, placed on hold, or rejected. In this post I will follow a new episode from initial concept through the development until it is ready to be recorded and on our schedule of episodes to record.
When we first started Complete Developer Podcast Will and I each kept track of our own ideas. This process worked well at first but as we each began to have ideas for the other to write it became complicated sharing those ideas. Therefore when we redesigned our Episode Roadmap we added a place for new ideas.
The LeanKit mobile app creates an easy way to add new episode ideas to our backlog. As an idea comes to one of us we just go to the app or website and enter the title and description of the idea into the ideas lane.
We record each week on Mondays. We’ve learned with time that our recording process is smoother when we take time each week to talk and discuss new ideas. Therefore before recording each week we review the episode ideas in this lane. During the review I will move the approved ideas into the Backlog sub-lane of the Outline lane. Not only does this process help to share our ideas but also makes us both stakeholders in the episode.
Once approved the episode moves into the outline lane starting with the backlog then once pulled moving into the writing sub-lane.
Once moved to the Outline lane I then assign the writer or project owner. Most of our episodes are written by just one of us however we do collaborate for special episodes such as our Predictions for 2016 episode. Each week Will and I pull an episode idea from the backlog to write.
When an episode is checked out from the backlog it enters the writing sub-lane. The outline is written by the assigned writer and saved to our shared Dropbox. This lane has the potential for stagnation as once an episode is being written is may stay here for a few weeks if it is a difficult topic or requires extra research when writing.
The finished outline for the episode is checked back in and the card for that episode moved into the approval lane. Initially we did not have an approval process and would not find errors or reject episodes until we were set to record it.
Upon completing the outline the writer or project owner will move the episode card to the reviewing sub-lane for the other co-host to review. On Mondays before recording we discuss the outlines in this sub-lane. From here an episode may move forward to the approved lane, return to the writing lane for more work, or be placed in the hold for review sub-lane in the archive to be review further at our quarterly meeting.
After being approved the episode card is moved into the approved lane. Here it waits to be scheduled for recording. The sub-lane acts as a place holder for episodes that are ready to record but have not been placed on our recording schedule.
Each week on Thursday or Friday I go through the approved list of episodes to record and add them to the schedule. In this process they are given an episode number and recording date. During our Monday sprints we pull from this list to record. We typically record two episodes per week with the occasional one or three episode week.
We’ve found that we are able to get two recordings in on a Monday evening without much stress though when we record three episodes the last one recorded tends to suffer. On the other side occasionally we run into issues such as traffic or server troubles and only record one episode.
Once recorded the episode card is moved into the archive. This is the final step along the Preproduction path.
Once placed here an episode card is created on the Post Production Board. Cards are held here for 14 days before being placed in the general archive for the board.
Episodes such as our dating episode that are recorded but not to be published or outlines that need a more detailed review than we have time in our sprint planning meeting each week are placed in the Hold for Review. These will be revisited at our quarterly meeting to discuss how to proceed with the idea or if we should drop it completely.
Ideas or outlines that are not to be recorded nor revised end the process here. Our plan is to review this lane twice a year. As we have only been publishing a little over six months at the time of this post we’ve only had one of these meetings.