Some of you may have heard of my last beer-related project, BlackBerryBeer
2008. Due to unfortunate logistical problems (aka my laziness), the
project failed. Year changing to 2009, making project name obsolete, did
not help either. In fact, the project failed bad enough so that it is
one of very very few projects I don't even list on my Monster resume.
Project B3 2008 Post-Mortem
As any good followers of the Cult of Process, we (the "project team")
decided to have a retrospective on what went wrong with the project.
Post-mortem findings include following insights:
It is necessary to pick the blackberries before snow falls: failure to
do so will make succesful completion impractical, perhaps even
impossible. (sidenote: this was the fatal blow to B3 2008!
Triple Boo for snow!)
Figuring out details like who to use for actual manufacturing (and at
what cost) is important. Turns out these things don't just magically
sort themselves out (Double Boo for things that don't take care of
Concrete plan is needed for storing resulting half a cask of
custom-crafted beer -- our fridge can not contain more than maybe a
dozen sixpacks, which is less than half a cask. It was pointed out
that it is possible to alleviate this problem a little by drinking
more beers faster; and that fortunately our home has multiple
bathrooms to help with resulting logistics problem of excreting excess
Blackbery bushes have nasty thorns; and resulting bruises heal slowly
(Boo for thorny plants!)
B3 2008 is Dead, Long Live BlackBerryBeer 2009 Project!
On positive note, it was also determined that these problems will be
overcome with this next-generation project. After all, the stakeholders
are now exceedingly thirsty; the blackberry season is not yet over in
the grand state of Washington; and all the itchy blackberry wounds have
been fully healed by now (in fact, some new ones have been gained to
further the goal picking the dang berries; further strengthening our
resolve for succesful outcome!)
One good thing about having a failed project is that usually you can
reuse much of planning material; generally goals are reusable, sometimes
even secondary artifacts like resourcing and scheduling.
This is the
case here: goals have not changed a bit. We still want to:
Produce a batch of unique beer using some local ingredients (this is
where Blackberries come into picture: after all, the only other
plentiful local resource -- rain -- is not a particularly recognizable
ingredient in the end)
Without having to handle the brewing part (as students we did this
part -- it's fun, but only first couple of times; and we are well
We are confident that these goals will be met by the project; similar to
how we were confident last year (turns out that optimism is, too,
recycable! Hooray for optimism!)
(note: plan hand-translated from our PM's MS Project Diagram)
Pick the berries (use of child labor approved, maybe even encouraged
-- kids don't fear thorns that blackberry bushes use for their
protection; and are slightly easier to control than the other commonly
encountered creature [Ursus
Americanus] with known good blackberry picking skills)
Find a micro-brewery that can brew small batches (half a cask?) for
Procure other ingredients if need be
Bring the stuff to the brewmeister
Wait for craftsmen to brew the magic
Bring The Beer Home!
Drink! Smile! Have Fun!
Apologies for not having a flashy Flash version of the plan. If you want
to see a flashier plan, try drinking enough vodka to make the list above
spin and bounce on your computer screen (hint: wear 3D glasses for extra
Current State of the Project: Green (with Slight Chance of Yellow?)
So: although total collected blackberry harvest is still somewhat below
required level (dang -- we also need to figure out what that level is!),
we are confident that the end result will be enjoyable to drink, and
going to be such enjoyed during year of 2009.
One more positive lack of development: we still haven't run across a
single bottle of blackberry beer (although there are some Wild
Internet Rumors that hint at possibility of future sightings). This
is different from many other flavors of fruit beer: our project team has
already field-tested multiple brands of blueberry beer, at least one
tasty brand of strawberry beer (hi there Strawberry Blonde! Call me!);
and of course the always-good Pyramid Apricot Ale.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Ok ok ok. That's a so-called rhetorical question. You can stop listing
suggestions now ("I find your lack of faith disturbing!").
Once a decent batch of B3 is ready (in 2 months? Just in time for
Thanksgiving!), volunteer beer drinkers may be needed. Our project team
is thirsty, but even our bladders have limits. More info will be
forthcoming if and when reinforcements are needed.
Stay Thirsty! And download responsibly!