How to start a podcast

This year Alley began the Two Scrums Up podcast, hosted by John Ragozzine, Director of Agile Process, and Ken Medley, Agile Process Leader. The podcast is about all things Scrum. We share our stories of successes and failures, interview thought leaders within the agile community, and provide tips and tricks for running high-performing Scrum teams.

True to our practices, we even used the Scrum framework to get the podcast itself up and running. After recording our first episode, we immediately needed to pivot and make changes. Scrum allowed us to do that. But long before producing our first episode, there were some essential things that needed to be in place before we could hit the record button. If you are thinking of starting your own podcast, here are some things to keep in mind.

Know Your Topic

The primary goal of starting our podcast was to help people along in their Scrum journey. We want to share our knowledge and model Scrum’s agility. In order to do that, we need to know our stuff. Thankfully, we hire experienced people that are very passionate about Agile principles and values. If you’re looking to start a podcast, know your topic. Be a subject matter expert in your field. Have knowledge you can share that will immediately provide value to your listeners.

It Starts with Starting

Every marathon runner begins a race with a single step. Likewise, there came a point when we had to stop talking about creating a podcast and actually get started. A phrase we said to ourselves multiple times when talking about the launch of our first episode was, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” For us, the best path forward was to just get started and to be willing to pivot and iterate in future episodes. Our goal was to provide value to our listeners as quickly as possible. We could have spent a lot of time and effort attempting to make the ever-elusive perfect product, but we knew that perfect didn’t exist. As we approached this podcast through the lens of Scrum, we wanted to get something recorded into the ears of listeners and react to feedback quickly.

Learn From Failure

We learned a lot during our first recording session. As we listened back to the audio, we realized we needed to tweak a few things. Ultimately, that first recording was thrown out and needed to be redone. There was too much background noise, levels and EQ were beyond what post-production could fix, and there were a lot of “uh’s and um’s” in the conversation. If ever there was a time to throw in the towel, that would have been it. But in the spirit of Scrum, we iterated on what we learned and moved forward. We swapped out some microphones, pulled an old mixer out of a closet, and went back to work. Failing only results in failure if you don’t learn. If you find yourself discouraged by a series of setbacks, think about all the lessons you’re learning and how they will only make your product better in the long run.   

Involve Others

Creating a podcast is a lot of work. There is so much more to it than recording audio and uploading to the internet. There is editing that needs to happen, a logo to create, intro/outro music, hosting services that need to be researched and purchased, marketing efforts, creating topic ideas, scheduling recording sessions with guests, and more. For one person, this would be a mountain of work to accomplish! We rely heavily on our team to produce our podcast. Our creative designers created a logo, while the talented musicians on our staff created the intro/outro music. Our marketing team assisted with getting us established on social media while our DevOps team determined the best hosting service. We also asked everyone at Alley to help with editing and user acceptance testing. Use your network of coworkers, friends, and family to help you get started. It’s okay to ask for help, especially when you need it.

Finally, HAVE FUN! Podcasting can be a blast! It allows you to share knowledge and connect with people in a unique way. If you feel like you have something to say, say it. The world is listening!