"Delivering uncommon results in software culture"

Sausage making and Software Development

Taking the pulse of your community is always helpful. Sometimes, it’s more helpful to detach and take the pulse of another community. 

I'm a huge Anthony Bourdain fan. Perhaps because he's never short of opinions and insights… Perhpas too because he's not afraid to share them. 

The analogy between making sausages and developing software speaks to me. There's a lot more room in this analogy for introspection to our own industry. Just substitue Charcuterie for Software Development and see what you think:

Chef Brian Polcyn: “Practicing Charcuterie is like a lawyer practices law or a doctor practices medicine. You don’t stop, you don’t stop learning! That’s what’s so exciting about it. There are so many variable conditions that could cause success and failure. There is NO formula – what I’d have to teach you is the mentality about the respect of the ingredients and the food and have you understand that principle and that’s what I have you do here in the classroom.”

“You know that old German saying right, that there’s 2 things that you absolutely need but you don’t necessarily have to know –

  1. How they’re done
  2. Legislation of sausage making right?”


Bourdain: “Right – well they also say, everyone likes policy making and everybody likes sausage but few people like to see how either of them is made…”

So… just to spell it out… everybody likes Software… but few people like to be involved in how it's made… Our industry too has an ownership issue. Often, people simply don't want to know how it's done; they just want to get a finished product.

This second observation I believe is also true for our marktplace – just substitute developer for chef and see what you think…

Bourdain: “What this show is really about is customers are a hell of a lot smarter and sophisticated than we give them credit for. It’s a new world that we live in now – and I think it’s important to recognize that it’s happening – whatever it is that’s happening – maybe for the first time in history – in this country – chefs are actually being appreciated for their best efforts rather than punished for them and that’s been a wonderful shift.”


About the Author
I’ve had the good fortune to travel and work internationally. I’ve also had the good fortune to have grown up in New Zealand and have lived the American “immigrant experience” for more than half of my life. I’ve also had an unorthodox musical journey that led me to and kept me in Kansas City. Music, IT and travel became partners along the way helping me appreciate multiple worldviews and the concepts of cross-disciplinary approaches to life and work. My non-conventional experiences reflect my meanderings about this interesting occupational field. The beauty of having been in IT for 30 years is that our solutions become predictably cyclic while our problems remain the same. Culture is a topic I’m rather obsessive about. I firmly believe that it will help to usher in a renaissance in American business – oddly enough in the hands of IT.
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