I sent this metaphor to a co-worker today. Thought it was worth sharing.
"Around release time, I use the analogy of spinning plates. I like that analogy for several reasons.
1 - the activity of spinning plates requires constant intervention
2 - adding a spinning plate is easy; maintaining it amongst all the others is difficult
3 - spinning plates have an implied order, but can fail out-of-order just as easily
4 - those involved in spinning plates cannot rest...EVER.
5 - you only notice spinning plates when they stop spinning (eg, they fall off and break )
6 - to be successful at plate spinning, you have to move MORE than the plates do
7 - once you start, it is not easy to stop spinning plates without breaking something
To me, this perfectly describes the current process of delivering updates and releases; why success is so hard and failure is so easy."