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After reading this blog post that suggests that the Death Star was an agile project I was wondering if using metaphors is a good way of describing methodologies in a slightly fun way.

'Movie x demonstrated agile because of a, b, c' - 'Movie y demonstrated waterfall because of f, g, h' - would this help clients understand what the concepts actually mean?

  • The best metaphor for Agile is a waterfall. The best metaphor for Waterfall is a metal frame into which concrete will be poured. Popular culture ... I don't know about that. – Smandoli Mar 24 '11 at 18:38
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    All abstractions (metaphors, in this case) are leaky. The trick would be to close the leak to a trickle as best as possible. :) – BryanH Mar 24 '11 at 18:41
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Absolutely, use whatever metaphor or tool you can to explain the difference.

You might find the following articles helpful:

Agile Mindset, Waterfall Mindset uses agile and waterfall as metaphors themselves.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Projects discusses the importance of creating "boundary objects" -linguistic tools or project artifacts to improve communication on projects.

  • Nice work on the blog articles. – Smandoli Mar 25 '11 at 22:36
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waterfall is like artillery: a lot of setup, tons of prep work, massive amounts of ordinance, extremely precise aiming, difficulty hitting a moving target, and takes out a city block wherever it lands

agile is like a missile: arm, fire, aim...aim...aim...aim...aim...

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Funny question.

I think of Matrix as Iterative, as The Architect mention that is the sixth version of the Matrix, so machines build in a iterative way.

Evan Almighty construction of the Noa´s Arc, is a good example of waterfall.

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Technical matter and business can easily be some kind of arid. And everything which can be useful to make things more understandable is good. Just be careful with metaphors: they can easily bring with them some false ideas.

Of course, the metaphor needs to be well fitted for the people you're aiming. For example, Star Wars is maybe not a good metaphor if you want to explain agile methods to the C level of your company...

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Of course. What area of thought or practice is not helped by metaphor? What after all is thought?

I suggest the movie "Rain Man". Tom Cruise for Agile, Dustin Hoffman for Waterfall.

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