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  • Writer's pictureEva Jenisch

Waterfall or agile? Which is the better approach for cooking a meal for friends

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

Since I am currently on vacation, I was wondering how the choice between waterfall and agile project approaches which I discussed two weeks ago could be applied to cooking.

So, what are the decisive factors in preparing a meal that would make you chose one or the other approach? I would use number of guests, formality of meal, kind of food to be served, type and variety of supplies and ingredients, and there are certainly other aspects.

In the case of a formal dinner invitation that includes appetizer, entrée, main course, and dessert, I'll probably choose Waterfall. My dinner project will then consist of 6 phases:

🍅 Setting the goals: for example, my goal could be to spend an uncomplicated and fun evening with my guests, the guests are invited for 7 pm and will leave by 10 pm again.

🍅 Dinner planning: choosing the menu sequence (possibly taking into account intolerances or preferences), scheduling times, shopping list, planning mise en place and cooking.

🍅 Buying the ingredients: as needed, I will buy a day before and fresh ingredients only on the day of the invitation.

🍅 Preparation: everything I can prepare, I will do as early as possible. Thus, if something is missing, I can still obtain this in time. Sometimes, I may also have to marinate something the day before. I will also do the table setting and wine chilling beforehand.

🍅 The cooking is then done according to my previously created schedule with the goal of spending as much time as possible with my guests and to bring each course perfectly prepared on the table.

🍅 I prefer to spare the description of the cleanup afterwards for now 😉

So, now that the waterfall dinner worked out well, the question is what might an agile dinner look like?

I usually choose an agile approach when the end goal is not necessarily known yet. This might be because, for example, I don't yet know how many guests are coming or when they will arrive or whether they might bring something else. So I start with my first Scrum Cycle and put olives, hummus, tomatoes and fresh pita bread on the table. If more people come, I can go to the garden and get fresh tomatoes and basil for a salad. Maybe someone brings sausages and then the grill is lit. And so it goes on in different cycles until everyone is happy and satisfied. For this agile dinner, it helps immensely if there is a bit of waterfall in the background, i.e. the wine cellar is filled and a few basic groceries are available in the house.

I think it’s fun to think about how I can apply concepts from my professional life to other areas. Do you do that sometimes too?

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