Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Contradictions That Drive Toyota’s Success
by Hirotaka Takeuchi, Emi Osono, and Norihiko Shimizu
Harvard Business Review, June 2008 (free online during June)
The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a necessary but not sufficient condition for Toyota's success. TPS is a radical innovation that has disrupted a huge market. However, without the "soft" factors that drive Toyota, they would still be just another auto company.
This is also true of Scrum where the Scrum framework is a necessary condition for hyperproductivity but that alone will never get you there. The team must rise to the occasion, engineering practices must be extraordinary, and management must provide an environment that removes all impediments that stand in the way. You can only get high quality by going fast in the right way and you can only go fast in the right way by working less, not more. Failure of managers to understand these paradoxes will cause Scrum to fail and often the company along with it. This is natural in a free market economy where bad companies deserve to fail and the sooner the better as then improved companies, products, and services can emerge more quickly.
Takeuchi wrote "The New New Product Development Game" which launched the first Scrum team and his work continues to be of high interest to the Scrum community. He and his colleagues have struggled to understand Toyota for decades and done many studies to try to get to the bottom of Toyota's success.
Quite simply, TPS is a “hard” innovation that allows the company to keep improving the way it manufactures vehicles; in addition, Toyota has mastered a “soft” innovation that relates to corporate culture. The company succeeds, we believe, because it creates contradictions and paradoxes in many aspects of organizational life. Employees have to operate in a culture where they constantly grapple with challenges and problems and must come up with fresh ideas. That’s why Toyota constantly gets better. The hard and the soft innovations work in tandem. Like two wheels on a shaft that bear equal weight, together they move the company forward.
Toyota’s culture of contradictions plays as important a role in its success as TPS does, but rivals and experts have so far overlooked it. Toyota believes that efﬁciency alone cannot guarantee success. Make no mistake: No company practices Taylorism better than Toyota does. What’s different is that the company views employees not just as pairs of hands but as knowledge workers who accumulate chie—the wisdom of experience—on the company’s front lines. Toyota therefore invests heavily in people and organizational capabilities, and it garners ideas from everyone and everywhere: the shop floor, the office, the field.
Perhaps the biggest contradiction has always been Toyota's mission - to make the world a better place. Therefore they do things no other auto company with do even if there is not an immediate financial return.
Toyota Value, the document that outlines the company’s beliefs, says it best: “We are always optimizing to enhance the happiness of every customer as well as to build a better future for people, society, and the planet we share. This is our duty. This is Toyota.”
This focus captures the hearts of the people and their spirit of innovation. To execute it well requires great leadership and great leadership is servant leadership that listens to the people and changes their behavior to help the people.
Senior executives constantly hammer home messages such as “Never be satisfied” and “There’s got to be a better way.” A favorite saying of former chairperson Hiroshi Okuda is “Reform business when business is good,” and Watanabe is fond of pointing out that “No change is bad.”... Toyota has a strict hierarchy, but it gives employees freedom to push back. Voicing contrarian opinions, exposing problems, not blindly following bosses’ orders—these are all permissible employee behaviors. Watanabe, who recounts how he fought with his bosses as he rose through the ranks, often says, “Pick a friendly fight.”
Saturday, June 07, 2008
It's time for you to get your most scintillating Agile theories
together, write a kick-ass paper that could get published in the IEEE
library and spend a week in beautiful Hawaii next January. Sound good?
Then get writing!
HICSS-42 CALL FOR PAPERS - due 15 June 2008
January 5-8, 2009
Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort
Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii
HICSS-42 offers a unique, highly interactive and professionally
challenging environment that attendees find "very helpful -- lots of
different perspectives and ideas as a result of discussion." HICSS
sessions are comprised primarily of refereed paper presentations; the
conference does not host vendor presentations. All papers are peer
reviewed and accepted papers are published in the IEEE Digital Library.
Software Technology Minitrack
Agile Software Development: Lean, Distributed, and Scalable
(Jeff Sutherland and Gabrielle Benefield)
Agile software development processes have been influenced by best
practices in Japanese industry, particularly by lean product
development principles implemented at companies like Honda and Toyota,
and knowledge management strategies developed by Takeuchi and Nonaka, now at the Hitotsubashi Business School in Japan, and Peter Senge at
MIT. This Minitrack will focus on advancing the state of the art or
presenting innovative ideas related to agile methods, individual
practices and tools.
Accepted papers will potentially enrich the body of knowledge and
influence the framework of thought in the field by investigating Agile
methods in a rigorous fashion.
We are open to research papers on multiple aspects of agile methods,
particularly those that bring best practices in knowledge management
and lean development to scalable, distributed, and outsourced Scrum,
eXtreme Programming (XP), and other agile practices. Topics include:
1. Research on existing or new methodologies and approaches: informal
modeling techniques and practices, adapting/trimming existing methods,
and new product/project planning techniques
2. Research on existing or new techniques or practices: pairing,
war-rooms, test-first design, paper-based prototyping, early
acceptance test driven development, exploratory testing, refactoring,
3. Research on special topics or tools: configuration and resource
management, testing, project steering, user involvement, design for
agility, virtual teams or others.
4. Research on integrating ideas from other fields, e.g. interaction
design, requirements engineering, cognitive science, organizational
psychology, usability testing, software security, into agile processes.
5. Research studies of development teams using ethnographic or social
6. Research on agile software engineering economics.
7. Quantitative and qualitative studies of agile methods, practices,
8. Research on agile compliance and cost benefits within CMMI, ISO
9000, and FDA certified development projects.
Papers are particularly relevant when agile process implementations
are shown to produce quantitative and qualitative benefits on
distributed, outsourced, large, or standards compliant software
development projects which have been previously been viewed
(erroneously) as unsuited for agile development.
To submit papers and read more about the conference please go to:
332 Congress St., 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02210
Scrum Training Institute
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
25-26 August 2008, Beverly Hills, CA
Get certified by Jeff Sutherland, Co-Creator of Scrum and Scott Downey, MySpace Scrum Coach.
This course will be led by Jeff Sutherland, Co-Creator of Scrum in downtown Beverly Hills near Rodeo Drive at The Tower - Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverwil Drive. Beverly Hills, CA 90025. Jeff has been a consultant to MySpace and Scott Downey, MySpace Scrum Coach, will assist him with this training. We did a Scrum Certification in May at this site and a good time was had by all.
The course will start promptly at 9am each day and run until 5pm. Please arrive at 8:30 the first day for a continental breakfast. Participants should read Ken Schwaber's book, Agile Project Management with Scrum, or Jeff Sutherland's draft of The Scrum Papers before the class as we will assume you know the basics of Scrum.
Jeff Sutherland started the first Scrum at Easel Corporation in 1993. He worked with Ken Schwaber to emerge Scrum as a formal process at OOPSLA ’95. Together, they extended and enhanced Scrum at many software companies and IT organizations and helped write the Agile Manifesto.
Jeff is the CEO of Scrum, Inc. powered by OpenView Venture Partners and is Agile coach to over 20 portfolio companies and to the OpenView venture group staff which runs all its operations with Scrum. As Senior Advisor to OpenView and CTO of PatientKeeper he focuses on using Scrum to transform companies as well as empower software developers. PatientKeeper quadrupled revenue in 2007 and the OpenView venture capital group is using it to create similar high performance portfolio companies. Jeff will share the secret sauce that helps development teams radically improve productivity and quality while providing a more rewarding and fun working environment for developers.
You can learn from Jeff's experience as a consultant to the world's leading software companies. Their experience can help make your Scrum implementation world class. There has been lot's of learning with Jeff at Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, MySpace, Adobe, GE, Siemens, BellSouth, GSI Commerce, Ulticom, Palm, St. Jude Medical, DigiChart, RosettaStone, Healthwise, Sony/Ericson, Accenture, Trifork, Systematic Software Engineering, Exigen Services, SirsiDynix, Softhouse, Philips Medical, Barclays Global Investors, Constant Contact, Wellogic, Inova Solutions, Medco, Saxo Bank, Xebia, Insight.com, SolutionsIQ, Crisp, Johns Hopkins Applie Physics Laboratory, Motley Fool, Planon, OpenView Venture Partners, Juske Bank, BEC, Camp Scrum, DotWay AB, Ultimate Software, Danube, Rally Development, Version One, AtTask, and many other companies.
Jeff is an expert on distributed/outsourced Scrum (see Agile 2008) and on implementing Scrum in a CMMI Level 5 company. He has has scaled and distributed Scrum using his last five companies as laboratories. His entire current company at PatientKeeper is run by a MetaScrum, and is one of the most advance implementions of Scrum worldwide. Mary Poppendieck, in her latest book on Lean Software Development, comments: Five years ago a killer application emerged in the health care industry: Give doctors access to patient information on a PDA. Today there is no question which company won the race to dominate this exploding market; PatientKeeper has overwhelmed its competition with its capability to bring new products and features to market just about every week. The sixty or so technical people produce more software than many organizations several times larger, and they do not show any sign that the size of their code base is slowing them down.
A key strategy that has kept PatientKeeper at the front of the pack is an emphasis on unprecedented speed in delivering new features. It will not surprise anyone who understands Lean that PatientKeeper has to maintain superb quality in order to support its rapid delivery. CTO Jeff Sutherland explains it this way:
“Rapid cycle time:
* Increases learning tremendously
* Eliminates buggy software because you die if you don't fix this.
* Fixes the install process because you die if you have to install 45 releases this year and install is not easy.
* Improves the upgrade process because there is a constant flow of upgrades that are mandatory. Makes upgrades easy.
* Forces quick standardization of software via new features rather than customization and one off.
* Forces implementation of sustainable pace. You die a death of attrition without it.
* Allows waiting to build new functionality until there are 4-5 customers who pay for it. This is counterintuitive, and caused by the fact everything is ready within 90 days.”
"I find that the vast majority of organizations are still trying to do too much stuff, and thus find themselves thrashing. The only organization I know of which has really solved this is PatientKeeper." Mary Poppendieck
In this course, participants will learn how to stop thrashing and start executing along with everything necessary for getting started with Scrum. There are very few rules to Scrum so it is important to learn its fundamental principles by experiencing them directly from those who have implemented the best Scrums in the software industry. Participants gain hands-on practice with the release backlog, sprint backlog, the daily Scrum meeting, tracking progress with a burndown chart, and more. Participants experience the Scrum process through a “59-minute Scrum” and the "XP Game” which simulate Scrum projects through non-technical group exercises.
The course will run from 9am-5pm each day.
Following the course, each participant is enrolled as a Certified ScrumMaster, which includes a one-year membership in the Scrum Alliance, where additional Certified ScrumMaster-only material and information are available.
You can receive 16 Professional Development Units (PDUs) for this course.
Participants will receive course materials for review upon registration. Click here for course syllabus.
The CSM course was formulated to train and certify ScrumMasters and is used worldwide for ScrumMaster training. The book, Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber is required reading for the course and the course is based on the primary Scrum book, Agile Development with Scrum.