Can a star chef act agile?

It is challenging to explain agile or lean methods to customers or outsiders. In the agile environment, many examples and metaphors from software development dominate. In lean, many models are from industrial production, especially Toyota.

In the movie Burnt, the main character John Adam went through an agile transformation. John Adam is a talented star chef and is trying his comeback in London. Years ago, he failed in Paris to cook his next stars. This failure drove John into madness; John ruined his mentor’s restaurant and fell into parties and drugs as a young rock star.

Routine and Discipline

At the beginning of the film, John works as a conventional oyster cook in New Orleans. As penance, he sentenced himself to open a million oysters.

Routine and Discipline show the difference between the practical software developer and the ivory tower. Today there is a variety of better and more intelligent developments tools. The complexity of development and systems has increased with Microservices and Cloud Computing. Practices like clean code are still essential for software development.

Customer Value, Minimum Viable Product

To recruit Helene, a young talent, John meets her at a burger restaurant. Helene is amazed at John as a star chef about the place and how John explains a burger. A burger or a goulash is suitable for ordinary people. These meals have a long history in culture and are the basics of starred cuisine. Still, a good burger needs good ingredients and requires craftsmanship.

In software development, this means customers sometimes do not need cathedrals. It is often more important to focus on customer needs and keep prototypes simple.

Turning Point

John seems arrogant to those around him. Nevertheless, his team and his competitors are excited and fascinated by his talent. Many young chefs endure his unfriendly and pale behavior only because of his reputation. John acts like a prima donna, but his character has some vital points of being an entrepreneur. He has the vision of the best star restaurant this the best customer value. Although John seems like a prima donna, his character is delightful. Hellen, his strongest competitor, and almost his entire team stand by in the greatest crisis. As a chef, he tries to control everything down to the last detail. His behavior drives his employees crazy. John does not realize what innovative treasure of talents he leads.

The turning point in the story is a test for the third star. John falls into his perfection and micromanagement. The Michelin testers get a poor menu. A co-worker from the time in Paris took revenge for his behavior in Paris. John falls into his old habits and goes through a very wild night. The supposed Michelin testers were ordinary business travelers, and it was a false alarm.

John realizes his mistakes and gives his employees more freedom. He now treated them as equals. The ritual of a joint lunch to start the rest of the working day is introduced (Daily Scrum). The daily business runs more smoothly; everyone seems more happy and engaged.

At the end of the film, John earns his third star. John relies on his team for this Michelin test.