I got 5 years for Agile in Manufacturing
I was reading a LinkedIn post by C Keith Horner in which he ponders the application of the Agile framework in Agile Manufacturing.
This post is inspired by pretty much the same inspiration and question that has haunted me for at least the last 5 years as I serve my time in which I have another 3 to 5 years left to serve assuming I can get off for good behaviour! …
A Big thanks!
… to Keith and his post for the inspiration to finally right this blog article.
Hi Keith, I too got hooked on this very topic a number of years ago and here’s what happened next …
In 2011, I began to wonder if Agile approaches practised within the Software and IT industries had applications in other industries such as manufacturing, education and social enterprises such as not-for-profits. I had come up with an inventive idea to help long term unemployed re-skill and re-train through collaborative The Jobs Factory , I found I was looking at the tip of an iceberg. I would need a deeper dive to sink into the depths of my lack of understanding if I was to learn just how deep below the surface of my existing knowledge the topic go .problem solving and peer to peer learning by doing. This idea would grow to blend in the tools, techniques, patterns and practices drawn from bootstrapping, the start-up and makers movement, Coder DoJo and Project Management utilising an Agile approach. When I looked closer at the emerging programme I had designed called
2012 I read ‘The ‘ by Eric Ries which help me to envisage a more robust and practical connection between Agile, XP and Scrum within the software and IT industries with that of its Startup: How Constant Creates Radically Successful Businesses Thinking from Manufacturing origins.
2013 I was passionate to understand more and so, I went in pursuit of my post graduate in ‘The Ten Faces Of and David Kelley, both of IDEO fame. During the course I was shocked at the insights I had gained as a team leader during an ’ audit assessment my team had conducted in one of the post 2007 crashed Irish pillar banks. The slow moving culture of large manufacturing, education and not-for-profit organisations really had captured my imagination.Management. I had discovered a further possible connection from Agile, , Design Thinking and Human Centre Design which I viewed as a disruptive and approach to the voice of the customer and new product design. The champions helping me to draw a connection were Tom Kelley author of
So much so, I went in search of the anti-culture. The anti-culture would pitch the slow moving big fish enterprises against the fast moving small fish of small business. As I narrowed my final year projects focus, I arrived at a simple question “How canwork for ?”. My research would look at the most Agile category of and how worked (or did not work) within established indigenous small businesses keeping in mind that micro enterprises make up over 90% of all enterprises and provide over 65% of all employment in Europe.
2014 As I continued my research via a second ‘ by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits as it appeared to confirm the connection I had drawn between Agile and Entrepreneur’ . For my next research project, I chose to target a local small manufacturing company who employed less than 250 employees but was experiencing rapid growth. The company was relocating its entire existing award winning manufacturing operations, plant and employees and was at the very beginning of its first steps into a transformation. I wanted to begin testing out some of my early theories on the topic of applying Agile approaches in manufacturing and the possible rewards to be realised. I successfully completed my research project and posted a blog article and case study entitled ‘. The project had given me an extended opportunity over six months to observe, listen and learn some highly rewarding and valuable experience and insights as well as allowing me to develop some new Innovating A New Manufacturing Service’ coaching tools and techniques. Later I penned a small number of diverse articles which I posted a subset via my personal blog at: http://innovationworks.ie/ I know had two post graduate specialist diplomas and more importantly a hugely successful -works-can- -work/blogs/ project under my newly awarded Manufacturing from the University of Limerick.Management ( Systems) post graduate I was inspired when reading the
2015 I had really found my calling at this point and I wanted to shoot for my masters and perhaps a PhD as a vehicle to continue my research into. I began to think about … As Agile, XP and Scrum are derived from Thinking, where then do the teachings of Dr. Deming, the empirical approach to new product development, burn down charts and data driven development of software and IT industries play their role?
To be clear … I HATE MATHIMATICS!. I had been avoidingbecause the mere suggestion of learning, understanding and then applying scientific notation as mathematical formulas to perform statistical analysis pretty near turned my stomach. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, the emergence of “The Survey Said …” had given me a naive uninformed misguided negative understanding of statistics as something churned out by marketing departments in big organisations in an attempt to brain wash joe and jane public into buying even more crap.
But as I researched deeper, I kept making connections to the empirical data driven approach of statistics and its application as a primary approach utilised within. I began reading conflicting posts about versus and how was more radical than in relation to continuous improvement and . It appeared to me that sought to stabilise existing proven processes with low variability where as, went in search of a continuous improvement, waste reduction and even greater added for customer satisfaction which implied that processes needed to be flexible and variable.
I wondered if I had stumbled upon some parallel between Agile,and born of the insights I had gained when researching the efforts of big and small enterprises. I asked myself, is there a secret battle raging for supremacy between Agile, and approaches or are they brothers in arms? Having climbed out of the Agile trenches of software development to capture a in Manufacturing, I was now going to have to cross the battle field to dig deeper into a new understanding of and what role (if any) would play in my research?
Having read a basket of books around the topic, one of the books that stood out more than others for me was … by Greg Brue because it would connect the dots of the Agility and needs of small business, with the for Small Business manufacturing tools to build upon the solid empirical data driven foundation of statistical analysis framed within the structured approach of DMAIC and . Captured by the pages … I completely read the entire book in a single day as I drive to work and home again. That was it, despite my total dislike for the subject of statistics and my entirely justified fear of mathematics and scientific notation I was going to have to learn more and take an even deeper dive into the murky waters of and sink or swim I was going to figure out why and would keep washing up in my research as .
2016, its all getting a bit embarrassing about now as I found myself enrolling again but now in to my third distance learning post graduate specialist diploma which would be ‘Management ( )’. Perhaps you can get a more fuller picture if you bring to mind the that I am a dyslexic early school leaver and mature student who’s only educational qualifications of any real personal are those I gained from the school of hard knocks. A glutton for punishment … I am now deep into my final year project applying agile approaches, using tools, driven forward by a data driven statistical analysis of a inventory management problem solving project in a major manufacturing operation as part of my ongoing research.
So What’s next? … I hope to complete my journey with first a masters during 2017/18 and ending with the publication of a series of PhD papers based upon further research and learning as part of a PhD into “How CanCreate Shared In Commercial and Social ?”
Its now 2017 and since 2011, the application of Agile in manufacturing, education, small business and not-for-profits has held me prisoner. At this point I have served 5 years of life long learning already with another 3 to 5 years to go … with time off for good behaviour! My only regret is I have yet to figure out a more Agile approach to my journey to learn more about Agile applied in other industries, so for those asking what at first may appear to be simple questions like “How can Agile work for manufacturing?” … be warned … an ancient warning comes to mind …
“be careful what you wish for …”
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Brendon McLoughlin is a Technical Project Manager and Lean Black Belt Innovator. Brendon has extensive design and development experience across technology based businesses, product manufacturing and service provider industries, social and not-for-profit organisations.Brendon has over 20 years of experience within start-ups, SME’s and global enterprises. Brendon continues to build a reputation as a creative lean thinker, innovator, researcher, blogger and evangelist. Brendon’s chosen area of research focuses on innovation Capacity, Capability and Competency building and cultivating creative core cultures in small high performance teams from small organisations to realise greater commercial value or social gain.
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