My #Agile metaphor – La Sagrada Familia


While I was brushing up my presentation for SQL Saturday in Madision, I came across what I felt was a wonderful metaphor for Agile.

La Sagrada Familia

I first became aware of La Sagrada Familia thanks to the iconic album ‘Gaudi’ by the Alan Parsons Project. I was intrigued by the title track and immediately started reading up on Antonio Gaudi and the passion he had. On a side note, I must have read at least 10 books based on Alan Parson songs, but I digress. 🙂

If you haven’t heard of La Sagrada Familia, it is an architectural marvel in the city of Barcelona in Spain. It was built starting in 1882 and still is not completed. The latest estimates peg the completion date somewhere around 2026. (The centenary of Antonio Gaudi’s death) The building and undertaking is so large that parts of the church are undergoing restoration while new construction is going on. It is an absolute marvel of construction and a testament of what can be achieved by a community.

Comparison to Agile

I love the metaphor of the La Sagrada Familia to Agile as Antonio Gaudi did not set out to build a church. Actually, Antonio Gaudi did not even start the project. He became the architect two years after the construction was started by Josep Maria Bocabella. Antonio Gaudi took over control of the design in 1884 and changed the design to be more grandiose and ultimately something that he knew would never be completed in his lifetime. This was a passion for him and he saw it as a calling that he knew he would never finish. He knew that the church was more than he could hope to complete, but he continued create and build onto the church right until his final days. The work on La Sagrada Familia has continued right until the current days with a multitude of people contributing and adding onto the design.

To tell you the truth I hope they never complete the construction. It would take away the majesty and wonder.

I see the construction of La Sagrada Familia similar to work we have all contributed to Agile since the Agile Manifesto. Agile was created by a small group of individuals in an attempt to create something larger than themselves that they had a great passion for. Likewise, they also believed that Agile wasn’t something that would ever be complete. The work of adding and enhancing Agile will always continue. No matter how many days have passed, there is always more to do and improvements that need to be done. Although the work was started by a smaller group of individuals, they have given the idea to the community at large and all of us continue to contribute to Agile and grow the idea. No one person owns the idea and concept, it is owned and is being built on by all of us.

And just like La Sagrada Familia, I sincerely hope we will never consider it to be complete.

About Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio has worked for Protegra for 14+ years because of the professionalism, people, and culture. Terry started as a software developer and found his technical calling in Data Architecture. Terry has helped to create Enterprise Operational Data Stores and Data Warehouses for the Financial and Insurance industries. Along the way Terry discovered that he enjoys helping to build teams, grow client trust and encourage individual career growth, completing project deliverables, and helping to guide solutions. It seems that some people like to call that Project Management. As a practical Data Modeller and Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Data Modelling and Agile. Terry considers himself a born again agilist as Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles has made him once again enjoy Software Development and believe in what can be accomplished. Terry is a fan of Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles, the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, Operational Data Stores, 4th Normal Form, and asking why


One thought on “My #Agile metaphor – La Sagrada Familia

  1. Hi Terry,

    I did notice that before architects were also project managers. I wonder why that has changed – because when it was the case, giant construction projects were accomplished efficiently.

    Posted by PM Hut (@pmhut) | March 17, 2014, 5:06 pm

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