Kevin Rutherford’s “Silk and Spinach” blog is one of my favorite places to wile away those “free” minutes. His recent post on metaphors to describe the software development process was one that stimulated a fair amount of thought on my part. I encourage you to read his post rather than re-hashing it here.

My two cents on the Pipeline vs Space Station metaphor is that whilst Kevin is right (i.e Space Stations are way more fun!) the pipeline metaphor does gel with my personal view of incremental releases. The pipeline itself is the system. The length of the plumbing being the evolving system (Think the early Eighties and a video game called Pipeline) and the usage of it is the water flowing through it. If an essential component of the system is removed without reconnecting the pipes it attached to, the water does not flow to the end of the pipe. If a pipe is faulty (or blocked) it does not allow the water to flow. This was not quite how the metaphor was set out originally but instead is my take upon it.