The Agile Executive

Making Agile Work

Posts Tagged ‘Sausage Syndrome

Hand Crafted Sausages – a Metaphor from Josh Kerievsky

with 2 comments

Reflecting on the Rally Agile Success Tour in Los Angeles, I discussed the “sausage syndrome” as one of the more painful issues between the Agile champion and his/her executive(s):

The “sausage syndrome”: “Don’t bother me with details how you do the software – just get it done” seems to be the attitude of numerous “business executives.”  I must admit I still don’t get it. Software is becoming pervasive on an unprecedented scale. And, software is becoming bigger and bigger component of just about any product in which it is embedded. Ditto for software as part of the business process. What is your recipe for success if you (as an executive) don’t get down and dirty on such a major component of your business?!

Joshua Kerievsky and I discussed the metaphor during an elevator ride in Agile 2009. Josh’s pointed out how delicious hand crafted sausages are. Moreover, he emphasized how intentional and thoughtful a good chef is about the ingredients going  into such sausages.

I used this metaphor in a teleconference I had earlier today with a CEO contemplating a large scale rollout of Agile. He chuckled and enquired about the right kind of beer to go with the sausages. Caught empty handed (was “Pilsner” the right answer?!), I promised an answer no later than my next elevator ride with Josh..

Advertisements

Written by israelgat

September 2, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Pains from Los Angeles

with 14 comments

Click here, here and here for stroke-by-stroke coverage of the March 26 Rally event in Los Angeles by Zach. From my own interactions with participants during the event, I compiled the following  list of the most painful issues between an Agilist and his/her executive(s):

  1. The “sausage syndrome”: “Don’t bother me with details how you do the software – just get it done” seems to be the attitude of numerous “business executives.”  I must admit I still don’t get it. Software is becoming pervasive on an unprecedented scale. And, software is becoming bigger and bigger component of just about any product in which it is embedded. Ditto for software as part of the business process. What is your recipe for success if you (as an executive) don’t get down and dirty on such a major component of your business?!
  2. Agile as part of the overall software engineering fabric: This issue is a close cousin of the “sausage syndrome”. Expectations of Agile are unrealistic as it is not grasped holistically as one layer in the overall context of  the art of programming. We direly need a construct like the OSI Reference Model for software engineering.
  3. Agile and the real customer: Much of the emphasis is still on Agile in R&D. The real customer is not iteratively integrated  in the development process. In spite of a ton of data to the contrary, we often drive the iterative development process under the fallacy that the customer problem is well understood.
  4. Agile in the business context: Discussion are usually focused on $$. Most Agilists do not seem to be well equipped to discuss Agile in the contexts of  risk mitigation and compliance.
  5. Assimilating Agile: Little understanding that apprenticeship is a wonderful way to learn Agile. Precious few invest sufficiently in on-going Agile consulting and coaching.

I started the event stating that I feel like one foot in cold water, the other in hot water: we accomplished so much over the past few years, yet much more could and should still be accomplished. I finished the event with precisely the same feeling: a ton of enthusiasm for Agile in the trenches; the immense opportunity to harness this enthusiasm at the enterprise level is not quite happening yet.