Development is driven by what would look cool in next week's demo to the CEO. Customers never see the results.
There is a vision of a great product in the distance, but no matter how much development takes place, it never gets closer.
The organization has between one and three "sensitive" customers that make up a majority of its revenue. Tickets are prioritized by how loudly the customer is screaming about them, multiplied by their ability to sink the company if they start looking elsewhere.
Developers push for new technology so they can put it on their resumes and get a better job elsewhere.
Managers push for new technology because they've seen it on a lot of resumes lately and have therefore mistaken it for a new industry best practice.
The initial product is a blank page. Input events are recorded and sent to an external contractor who live-codes the UI in response. Latency is poor, but customers blame their computer and/or their ISP.
Following the same evolutionary pressures which caused Easter to be about chocolate eggs, Halloween to be about begging candy from strangers, and Christmas to be about mince pies, processes in a sugar-driven development-based organization come to be about going to meetings in the hope of scoring free donuts. The meetings have vestigial names like "Sprint planning" and "Retrospective" indicating some historical purpose, but nobody can remember what it was.
Developers are terrified to touch the code in case they break something. All development is done by changing as little existing code as possible.
All development initiatives, even internal ones, come under a new project, commonly named after a mythological character or bird of prey, with its own unique branding and visual identity. The organization collectively spends more time on creating themed PowerPoint templates than on creating working software.
"It's just a prototype, we need to build a real one for
production." The prototype was released to production almost
immediately and has been there ever since. Some bugs have been
fixed and features added but the codebase is still littered with
"// !!! HACK !!! fix this later - steve
"// TODO add password hashing".