Friday, November 24, 2006

Agile Comedy

I've discussed IT methodology on many occasions on this blog. One term that crops up regularly in IT circles when discussing how to get things done is "Agile". I can only honestly discuss this approach as an outsider as I've never followed it in a work situation.

Essentially, the idea behind Agile is that rather than spending a long time designing and planning what you're going to do, you get to the actual creating phase as quickly as possible. What comes out the first time is unlikely to be "right" but it's a prototype that you can actually assess in a hands-on way. Then you go through iterations of the project as quickly as possible, discarding what didn't work in the last iteration and adding enhancements.

My view of this as an IT methodology is that it includes some good ideas but I recommend practicing extreme caution around anyone who preaches its virtues in an evangelical way. And regard anyone selling books/training/seminars on the topic with deep suspicion. Having said that, I've decided to apply my rather limited knowledge of Agile methodology to a non-IT "project" I'm undertaking.

I've mentioned before that a cable TV comedy show is running a competition whereby you submit a video of yourself doing a comedy routine and if you win, you get to perform on the TV show. This would probably be viewed by marginally more people than the stuff I put on YouTube but it would sound cool to be able to say I've been on TV. The stuff for "The Fizz" hasn't gone to air yet so far as I know so this would be my first TV performance if I won. I have about a week before the deadline for submission to practice.

So the plan is this: I put up a video of me doing a routine (nothing new there), then I ask for feedback (also nothing particularly new there). But then I employ Agile methodology. Based on feedback (plus what I think of the performance) I do another "iteration" of the routine and post that video the next day. I ask for feedback and review this iteration again, trimming the bits that aren't working so well and maybe adding some new bits. I repeat this process as often as I can (or as often as seems useful) up to the point where I submit my piece to the competition.

This is history in the making, people. Applying IT methodology to the world of comedy using the vast internet as my test lab. I hope you can all join in. I also announced this plan on YouTube last night via the following video. And just for Suroor, I added a bit about how goddam angry my business shirts make me :)

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