Kicking in the Agile Afterburner

By November 9, 2016Agile, IT Implementation

A while back I was chatting with a friend in the aviation industry and he offered an interesting explanation of how a jet engine works. In any combustion engine there are four distinct steps (strokes if you’re a gearhead):

  • Intake: Air is pulled into the intake feeding the compressor
  • Compression: The turbine compresses the air mixture to the optimum pressure for combustion
  • Combustion: Fuel is added and ignited. The rapid expansion of this controlled explosion pushes the air to the exhaust.
  • Exhaust: The exhaust gases produced by combustion propel the engine while fresh air is pulled into the intake continuing the rapid, highly efficient cycle.

I love a good metaphor.  It makes the complex understandable and often opens up new avenues of insight.  It didn’t dawn on me until days later while I was catching up on some agile reading that his jet engine explanation provides a fantastic metaphor for agile processes.  There are many phases in the software development lifecycle: requirements gathering, design, development, and testing being the major phases that development teams are engaged in for most organizations.

The daily activities of an agile team incorporate:


A great metaphor goes a long way.  At SEI, we love helping our clients develop a deeper understanding of the how and why of agile practices.  Oftentimes the fundamental building blocks are there all along.  It’s a delight to help a client gain a fresh perspective on how to arrange those building blocks to kick their project into high speed.

Joe Combs

About Joe Combs