A Vision for Agile Software?

In my opinion, Toyota’s success does not come primarily from the details of the 17 elements of Lean Manufacturing (though they are brilliant), but from the fact that they found a specific and sustainable way to capture the creative insight and energy of every member of their workforce and channel it into striving to reach their ultimate goals — just in time production, and the total elimination of waste.

People are motivated by a vision

Toyota has a clear vision. Lots of companies have vision statements. GM and Ford have vision statements. But that’s not visionVision is never just words on paper.

Most “lean initiatives” fail when the ground floor implementation experts don’t share the vision. Either because management has confused the tools for the process, or because management vision is just words on paper to them.    It isn’t connected to anything real, anything they care about.

Kaizan is not an event is it is a process for continuous incremental improvement. Those who think they can make their plant lean by having a couple of kaizan events are doomed to failure.

In fact, even those who see recurring kaizan events as a process of continual improvement aren’t necessarily going to be successful. Kaizan is isn’t just a process, its also a culture, a way of life, and an over arching vision of a future with less waste.

One of the characteristics of a vision is that it feels very specific and very focused. For Toyota this this is reduce the time between when a customer orders a product to when it is delivered — which turns out to be almost the same thing as saying “remove all the waste from the manufacturing process.”

Why do some Agile Software initiatives fail while others succeed?

For those of us who are trying to implement Agile Software development initiatives, the lesson to learn from all of this is pretty clear. If we are going to succeed, it will be because we get our teams to share a vision for delivering better software faster, with less waste.

If, on the other hand, we impose agile as “a bunch of new processes” on people who don’t share a vision, then when something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong) everyone will blame the process. Conversely when the team shares a vision, and are empowered to make it happen, the first person to see something a problem will just fix it and move on.

5 Responses to “A Vision for Agile Software?”


  1. 1Bob

    Sorry to pollute the comment section with an administrative item, but I do not see a way to contact you otherwise.

    Your RSS feed for posts in the little badge at the bottom, is not a feed for posts but rather comments. In fact, I think it produces the same feed as your RSS feed for comments. As a result, anyone subscribing to the former feed will miss any posts you make unless someone comments.

  2. There should be a RSS Posts link at the bottom of every page right next to the RSS Comment link.

    If for some reason it isn’t showing up for you, the link to an RSS Feed for all posts is here:

    http://compoundthinking.com/blog/index.php/feed/

  3. 3Bob

    Maybe I wasn’t clear. The link:

    http://compoundthinking.com/blog/index.php/feed/

    produces a comment feed, not a post feed, despite what the URL and badge would imply. So two distinct URLs are producing the same comment feed.

  4. I was able to reproduce the error you mentioned one time, then after checking (but not updating) my settings all I ever get from the RSSPosts link is an RSS feed of the posts. The Comments link seems to be working properly now too.

    Strange.

    Anyway, if you have any further trouble let me know and I’ll delve more deeply into what might be wrong with my wordpress.

  5. 5Bob

    It’s now working for me too. In fact I just got 15 new items in the feed, all of them recent posts (not comments). So apparently just checking the settings altered something that fixed it.

    Just another example of the “observer effect”. To measure is to alter. I only wish WordPress had fixed the problem when I observed it. Oh well, maybe that’ll be a feature in the next upgrade….

Comments are currently closed.