Friday, May 24, 2002

GE's Take on SCRUM: Engines of Democracy


by Charles Fishman, Fast Company 28, p 174
Self-organizing teams can produce really high quality. In some companies there are no managers when the teams are all self-organizing.

"Although engines go out the door of this plant at a rate of more than one per day, the air of calm is hardly its most unusual aspect. The plant is General Electric's aircraft-engine assembly facility in Durham, North Carolina. Even within Jack Welch's widely admired empire, the Durham facility is in its own league -- a quiet corner of a global giant, a place where the radical has become routine. GE/Durham has more than 170 employees but just one boss: the plant manager. Everyone in the place reports to her. Which means that on a day-to-day basis, the people who work here have no boss. They essentially run themselves.

"The jet engines are produced by nine teams of people -- teams that are given just one basic directive: the day that their next engine must be loaded onto a truck. All other decisions -- who does what work; how to balance training, vacations, overtime against work flow; how to make the manufacturing process more efficient; how to handle teammates who slack off -- all of that stays within the team."

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