Business Analysis and Beer:30 – Beer Change Management
Beer:30 - The end of Friday routine that has become engrained into the culture here at the Milwaukee office. A time to come together to reflect on another week; the good and the bad, settled over a beer. Coming to together to discuss plans for the weekend or the coming work week, but we can only talk about work so much! Our clients always think it is a blast to join in as well, with the focal point of the conversation around our new IoT enabled kegerator (Here are the links to Johns articles Part1 Part2 check them out!). Beer:30 really is just a great time to socialize and relax with colleagues.
Now, don’t be fooled by this merriment - Beer is very serious business.
When I arrived at Concurrency as a Business Analyst Intern I was given the opportunity and privilege to be the keeper of the kegerator. Our setup at the time (current state) was a basic Kegco kegerator, essentially a mini-fridge with two taps on the top. As well as an additional mini-fridge for cold storage. This posed a few problems: no way of identifying how much beer we currently had in the kegs, maintaining the inventory of beer, and quality of the beer coming out of the tap. At the time, marketing was taking on the role as our beer acquirers with their full-time responsibilities. I have heard the horror stories of those Beer:30s that never were, because we ran out of beer. Additionally, the beer lines were never cleaned, nor did we have the means to do so. I think any brewer would have been disappointed by what we were doing to the taste of the beer they worked so hard to perfect! The system got the job done, but there was lots of room for improvement.
After thorough requirements gathering and current state analysis, it was time for an upgrade. The gaps were as follows: needed the proper appliance to administer beer at a sufficient rate and quality, more refrigeration space to keep backup kegs ready and at optimal temperature, and a way to track our consumption to forecast inventory. I had a few beer dispensing models picked out at this point, but there was one option that I knew was the best of the best. I pitched my directed design to the one and only Jim Savage, Concurrency's owner, as this would be affecting his beer tab! We landed on the best of the best, a Perlick direct draw system that was custom built for us right here in Milwaukee. The quality and performance of the system was well worth the additional upfront costs, hoping to keep the system up and running for years to come! This system also offered options to be upgraded in the future if we so desired.
With the awesome new Kegerator, came along more responsibility to make sure that it was properly being properly taken care of. As a celebration for my first billable hours, my manager gave me the go ahead to enroll to become a certified Cicerone Beer Server. https://www.cicerone.org
Great beer service starts with fundamentals: beer clean glassware, a proper pour, and beer that hasn’t been ruined by improper handling. And in today’s beer world, every dialog between server and guest begins with talk of beer styles and flavors. The Cicerone Certified Beer Server exam assesses these skills to recognize those individuals who are prepared to serve today’s wide range of beers. From <https://www.cicerone.org/us-en/certifications/certified-beer-server>
In short, the class was a great learning experience and it opened my eyes to the world of beer beyond Natty Light and plastic cups!
With my new knowledge I created a standard operating procedure and training plan for kegerator maintenance. This included cleaning the lines and taps, handling the kegs, and how to hook up the various Co2 and beverage lines.
There still was a problem though… how much beer was left in the kegs?! There is nothing better to get the creative process flowing like a cold beer (or two), and the team got to thinking… John Adali and I worked to pick out a flow meter and valve that would not disrupt the flow of beer in the lines. Again, check out John's blog for the details around what John did on the technical side. I added change management into the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), ensuring we are allowing enough time to remediate any installation issues before Friday. This also includes making sure we have back up supplies for any urgent repairs. Ultimately building out a change management and admin guide that makes sure there will be no disruption of service to the end users, and that the users have the best experience possible. Although, it is easy to have a high user adoption rate when it comes to beer drinking!
Beer30 is just one of the great parts of working at Concurrency. It is a great time for new employees to get to know everyone in a casual setting, work through any consulting woes and networking with clients. Also, providing me with great BA practice and, of course, for a college intern to have the coolest job he could ever hope for during his college career!