Crossing the Chasm

I often hear people complain that Agile is not yet mainstream and hence, not been adopted widely.Ignore the obvious circular reference for the moment. Lets compare Agile practices adoption with a similar revolutionary principles applied to the manufacturing discipline – Toyota Production Systems.

The Agile Manifesto came out in 2001. Assuming that the practitioners were using it at least 5 years before in varied shapes and forms, it implies it has only been around for the last 10 years or so.

TPS was first instituted in Toyota in the late 1940s. However, no one really noticed it until the oil crisis hit the world in 1973.Toyota was able to sustain the earnings in the subsequent years . From this point onwards, Japanese manufactures began adopting it and subsequently, the world. It was from this point onwards that lean manufacturing principles became mainstream.

The oil crisis was the inflexion point which made the world sit up and notice the success of lean manufacturing.A similar inflexion point will do for Agile what oil crisis did for the lean manufacturing. Catastrophes like NHS and Sainsbury’s IT projects have already highlighted the deepening crisis with formal methodologies. For all you know… its just around the corner..

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