Skip to main content

XM Principle 1: Optimize for change

What happens if an engineer comes up with a way to build a safer car door? Can that new door be deployed right away? No. A stamping machine and a custom made die produce that door. Together they cost over 10 million US dollars and they must first be amortized before the new door can be economically produced. Given the high costs, it can take 10 years or more before that better door can enter production. You can see the impact of the need to amortize huge investments in the slow, incremental changes in automobiles from year to year, even from decade to decade!

WIKISPEED can change their design every seven days. They employ tools like value stream mapping not merely to reduce the variance of products produced or to optimize the flow through the production line, but first and foremost to reduce the cost of change. It does not cost them more to use a new design than to use an existing design. So if they have a safer way to build the door today, they start using it next week.

Welcoming and responding to change represent core Agile values and principles (see the Agile Manifesto and the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto). So by adopting this principle, you take a huge step towards becoming an Agile organization.

Tomorrow: Object-Oriented, Modular Architecture

The 10 Principles of Extreme Manufacturing

Comments

Tom Isaacson said…
I don't understand this. How can they avoid the cost of a new custom made die for the door by having a different process?
Joe Justice said…
Hi Tom! eXtreme Manufacturing uses completely different tools and processes with those tools. It's more than only process, it's process that demands specific technical practices for mass manufacturing. Just like an assembly line didn't have craft work and custom casting stations as the core, instead that practice mandated interchangeable parts. To learn more about it, come get immersive hands on experience with us, build a car end to end with us using those tools and techniques!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joejustice0/develop-extreme-manufacturing-class-and-curriculum
Peter said…
Hi Tom,

The short answer is by not having an expensive die.

Stamping pieces on a hardened die optimizes the unit cost in high volume at the cost of a very high price of change (i.e. you have to make many pieces before the cost of die is amortized). The leads to a 7 year product change cycle, as is the case with most cars today.

By selecting different technologies to make it easier to change -- even though the unit cost is higher -- you gain flexibility, thereby lowering risk and cost, especially start-up costs.

In the case of WIKISPEED, rather than using a hardened die to stamp metal parts, they used a styrofoam die, which is easy and cheap to create on a garden variety milling machine. They then lay carbon fibre on top of it, much like making a fibreglass canoe.

Cheers,

Peter







Popular posts from this blog

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

10 Warning Signs, that your team is not self-organizing

How do you know that self-organization is working? The Bern Chapter of Scrum Breakfast Club looked into this questions, and identified the following warning signs (which I have taken the liberty of translating).

The team reports to the Scrum Master at the Daily ScrumPeople wait for instructions from the Scrum MasterTeam members don't hold each other responsible [for their commitments]The same impediment comes up twice"That's the way it is" => resignation"I" instead of "We"Flip charts are lonelyCulture of conflict-avoidanceDecisions processes are unclear, nor are they discussedPersonal goals are more important than team goals
To this list I would add my a couple of my favorites:
you don't see a triangle on the task board (not working according prioritization of stories)after the daily Scrum, people return directly to their desks (no collaboration)there are a least as many stories in progress as team members (no pairing)
P.S. You can join the …