The Chickens and Pigs of Agile Software Development: A Localization Fable

Category: Software Translation

4050562105_317da1507c_zOnce upon a time, a chicken and a pig met and decided to open a restaurant that served only the best ham and eggs in the land. The pig would supply the ham, an assignment she took quite seriously as the ham would come literally off her own back. The chicken would supply the eggs, naturally without the same sense of sacrifice as our friend the pig.

This charming fable is often used to explain the characters involved with agile software development, with its continuous software releases, self-organizing teams, and fluid team assignments during sprint times.

Scrum masters and facilitators, dev team members, and product owners are the pigs, with a lot of skin in the game. Vendors, customers, and managers are the proverbial chickens, who can continue their normal, day-to-day lives.

To understand how localization plays into agile 3548408710_7a947da81a_zsoftware development, let’s imagine that our chicken and pig will soon be opening a restaurant in Mexico that serves chicharrones and huevos.

How can they localize their product for the new language market in a way that makes sense? What questions do they need to answer ahead of time? And what role will each play in the process?

Read on for our quick take on the question of how to get your software localized when developing via the agile model. And get the whole story in this full-length article.

  1. Set goals for your international launch. How often will you release your software? Into how many markets? Do you want to launch in all markets at the same time? What are the drivers behind the releases? Scope your strategy from a development and localization perspective.
  2. Work closely with your localization vendor. Vendors traditionally take the role of a chicken, but if localization is a major element of a particular sprint, you can ask your localization vendor to step up and become a pig so that they’re more visibly involved and accountable. Inform your vendor upfront about your agile development methods and project release schedule – they should conform their methods to yours. You may even want to include them in sprint meetings that include localization builds.
  3. Don’t linguistically test half a feature. Tell your vendor which features are complete and incomplete. You may not want to test until you’re completely sure that a feature has been 100% completed.
  4. Develop a process for bug fixes during linguistic testing. Agile dev speeds up the bug-fix process. When bugs are fixed, your localization vendor needs to verify them. In addition, you may want to have multiple small verification passes to ensure all bugs are verified by the time of release.

Since there isn’t just one universal solution to integrating localization into the agile development cycle, it’s critical that your localization partner can to adapt to your process.­ Follow the tips above (and find more useful tips here) to make the journey a smooth one, with a team of happy chickens and pigs.

Photo attributions: sarneibill (chickens), angavallen (pigs)