Agile Software Development
"a conceptual framework for software development that promotes development iterations, open collaboration, and adaptability throughout the life-cycle of the project.There are many agile development methods; most minimize risk by developing software in short amounts of time. Software developed during one unit of time is referred to as an iteration, which typically lasts from two to four weeks. Each iteration passes through a full software development cycle: including planning, requirements analysis, design, coding and testing." (http://www.bravenewcollaboration.com/concepts/)
2. Jay Standish:
"Agile Software Development achieves a pull system in the sense that tasks are not assigned to workers by managers. Instead, a team collaboratively lists all the things that need to get done, and chunks them out into tasks that can be finished within a day. Then, team members go to the board and signs themselves up to work on the tasks they think they are most qualified for and excited about. When they are done, they pull another task to themselves.
Just this one process makes the work environment so much better. It gives workers both a sense of independence but also their context within the team is visible- everyone knows what they are working on and when it should be done." (http://www.worldbridgerdesign.com/blog/pull-systems-for-knowledge-work/)
How Agile is Coming to Manufacturing
"In Agile, self-organizing teams work in short cycles (typically called “sprints”) and develop the features and products in a modular fashion to facilitate rapid innovation. The teams continually evolve the product in the light of experience and customer feedback. In 2001 at the time of the Agile Manifesto, Agile software development was a tiny minority school of thought on the periphery of the business mainstream. Now Agile software development is a huge movement involving thousands of firms all around the world.
The same revolution is now coming inexorably to manufacturing, because slow-moving multi-year product cycles will be unable to cope with the rapidly shifting marketplace. The only surviving manufacturers will be those that have learned how to be Agile.
We can catch a glimpse of what Agile manufacturing will look like from the experience of Wikispeed, a Seattle WA C-Corporation that recently developed a functional road-safety-legal prototype to get 100 miles per gallon. It was developed in just three months, instead of the multi-year process that traditional manufacturing requires. Wikispeed’s car can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds. It weighs just 1,404 pounds. It has a top speed of 149 mph. Its ground clearance can be adjusted anywhere from racing to sport utility. It seats four passengers and meets all legal safety standards.
In achieving all this on a shoestring budget, Agile was key. Wikispeed developed the car by doing what modern software teams do: they used the radical management methods of Agile, Scrum and Kanban.
Agile software development is a family of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. This reduces the cost and time to make change, which evolves new products faster than stage gates and planning phase approaches.
Scrum is a way of managing self-organizing teams, using a “Product Owner” who is the voice of the customer and a “Scrum-Master” who is accountable for removing impediments to the work of the team. This focuses the work with minimum business overhead.
Kanban is a way of visualizing work flows so as to reflect customer “pull” and identify bottlenecks and waste. This increases speed of delivery by maximizing flow. Wikispeed works in self-organizing teams with one week sprints. Using Scrum, the team iterates the entire car every seven days. That means every seven days they re-evaluate each part of the car and re-invent the next highest priority aspects to be worked on. This way of working radically accelerates the pace of innovation. Within each sprint, the teams use Kanban boards to picture and optimize the flow of work within those sprints." (http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2012/08/01/transformational-leadership-in-agile-manufacturing-wikispeed/)