A Toyota Way evening in Paris

Lean presentation in Paris

On the 21st of January 2009 I’ll be in Paris to present an evening seminar on how to apply the Toyota Way management principles to Agile software development. The seminar is organised by Carl Azoury and Olivier Huber of Zenika.

To me, Agile is the application of Lean principles to software development. So, the presentation contains a lot of parallels between the two. A lot will be very familiar if you already know and practice Agile.

So, what’s left to learn? Some of the Toyota Way management principles aren’t in Agile methods. These principles are useful when we go beyond software development. There comes a moment in any successful Agile enablement when the development team is no longer the bottleneck. Suddenly, we’re faced with a completely different set of issues. Now that Agile gains more and more acceptance, we need to be able to deal with these new challenges or accept that most Agile transformations will either die or bring limited extra business value.

The more I read and learn about Toyota, the more I realise how much I don’t know and how many preconceived ideas I have to abandon. I need to keep learning. The Toyota Product Development System, for example, contains many counter-intuitive ideas like set-based design. Real Options thinking can help us understand why some of these techniques work. We’ve only started to scratch the surface of Lean ideas.

Toyota losing money? Impossible!

In the news, even Toyota is affected by the economic climate. They might even have to post the first loss since the early years. Isn’t Toyota invincible and perfect? Of course not. It will be a real show of faith in the Toyota Way if Toyota continue to keep on their workers, keep training them and keep improving to be ready when sales take off again.

Secretly, top Toyota management must be happy that this crisis happens now. One of their main concerns is complacency. No one should ever think that the work is “done”, now that Toyota is the biggest manufacturer. Hansei and Kaizen should be applied relentlessly, it’s always possible to do better. Nothing better than tough economic times to bring back the sense of urgency.

See you in Paris

The seminar is free, but you must register here. Don’t wait too long because places are limited.

See you there!

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