Whatever food we eat, the size of our mouth doesn’t change.

Whatever food you eat, no matter the portion, whether at a fast food or a gigantic wedding banquet, the size of your mouth doesn’t change.
It grows proportionally with your age but it doesn’t depend on the meal presented to you. Whether you eat using a fork, spoon, hands or any other tool, you must divide any quantity into bite-size pieces that you can chew.

Sometimes people (often ourselves or our best colleagues) take on their plates more issues than they can handle. Or too big ones. One of the most well known approaches used in problem solving is called “divide and conquer” which consists of breaking down the problem into smaller pieces and solving them one at a time. 

Working in IT, this concept is often found difficult to apply by teams for various reasons:
– Overestimating our capacity, skills, availability
– Underestimating the size of the issue
– Thinking that the time to study a problem or breaking down an activity goes wasted
– Assuming that the same time could be used to dive into the solution which eventually turns out to be confusing or unmanageable.

As a trainer and coach, I dedicated a large amount of hours documenting, explaining, advocating the benefits of working in small batches.Especially in the production of software, working in small batches is proven to be an enabler for organisations to become high-performing. 

Divulging the same concepts using different approaches, with some metaphors or similarities rather than techno-business jargon could be more effective.This is what I aim to achieve in this article and I hope it will help you and your organisation.

One of the best evolutionary strategies to feed yourself is to break down gargantuan meals into small bitesize.
Ages ago food wasn’t always available. Nowadays we have fridges full and stores open 24/7. We eat and ingest food, big meals or snacks, cold or hot, sweet or savour, throughout the day. 

Eat small, eat often could be the synthesis of the continuous integration of food into our body. Fuel for our cells. The way we sustain ourselves is a lean-agile iterative short-cycled feedback loop of ingesting, digesting, and removing waste. The capacity to have a backlog of food always available improved our efficiency and shaped human evolution. With less time needed to chase food, more time is available for improvement: thinking, arts, philosophy, maths, science…
That lean-agile iterative short-cycled feedback loop enabled humanity to evolve, to be creative, to dare to find innovative, genius solutions to improve our lives.

Next time you hear that a user-story or a task or activity can’t be broken-down into small-batches, into iterative multi-daily bitesize activities, think about extinction (you can visualize a green dead dinosaur if you’d like). Then, advise that person to step towards the evolutionary journey of software development, take bites no bigger than their mouth and embrace lean and agility.

Takeaways (in bitesize):

Whatever food you eat, no matter the portion, whether at a fast food or an all-you-can-eat, the size of your mouth doesn’t change.

Eat small, eat often could be the synthesis of the continuous delivery and continuous integration of nourishment into our body. 

The way we sustain ourselves is a lean-agile iterative short-cycled feedback loop of ingesting, digesting, and removing waste.

This strategy has been evolutionary successful as not only it avoided our extinction but it enabled genius, creativity and better life.

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I write about organizational patterns, transformational leadership, healthy businesses, high-performing teams, future of workplace, culture, mindset, biases and more. My focus is in leading, training, and coaching teams and organizations in improving their agile adoption. Articles are the result of my ideas, studies, reading, research, courses, and learning. The postings on this site and any social profile are my own and do not represent or relate to the postings, strategies, opinions, events, situations of any current or former employer.

This article has been published for the first time on danieledavi.com by the author Daniele Davi’.
© Daniele Davi’, 2021. No part of this article or the materials available through this website may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published, broadcast or reduced to any electronic medium, human or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the author, Daniele Davi’.