Introduction to five steps for agile transformation in manufacturing
Evidence indicates that agile software delivery results in a higher success rate for software projects as compared to waterfall delivery. The product (I’m going to substitute Product instead of Project going forward, the agile way) is of higher quality, Quality Assurance costs go down, and more scope can be shipped to market in a shorter period of time. In fact, we’ve seen a tenfold decrease in costs for delivery of identical software products for manufacturers when an agile approach and toolset were used. Why then do some companies insist on the slower waterfall process?
Blame the industry. Historically manufacturing has relied on establishing a predictable model for building a specific widget and then optimizing the process to a point where every single variable is accounted for. This results in predictable cost per widget manufactured, predictable demand for materials, distribution, and so on. Building custom software, however, is in many ways the complete opposite to building widgets. Waterfall (fixed price, fixed scope, fixed schedule) simply does not work. If a manufacturer embarks on a build vs. buy decision there is likely a good reason – the problem has not yet been solved to an adequate degree and there’s a competitive advantage in using custom software. What we’ve come to discover, however, is that these organizations can get 80 percent of the value from Agile while changing only a fraction of their processes and practices, without, in any way, compromising on financial accountability. In fact, quite the opposite.
Following are a list of topics covered in this white paper:
Step 1: Reduce project (product) size.
Step 2: Use lean requirements to jump start delivery.
Step 3: Upgrade your tools to improve communication.
Step 4: Invest in continuous integration and delivery.
Step 5: Integrate Quality Assurance into your delivery team.
Let’s start with biting off a smaller piece of the apple to help with our new, Agile way of chewing.