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152741Re: [XP] Lean failure at Toyota

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  • Tim Ottinger
    Feb 1, 2010
      I think the problem is that success is rare, mysterious (having no reliable recipe), and probably multicausal. Failure is not the result of wrongdoing necessarily, but is the natural state. Most businesses fail, most fail before becoming well-known, and many fail after being fabulously successful. We forget that failure is the default, and success is the outlier that needs explaining. Indeed, all our work in any field of endeavor is not really competing against others so much as competing against the default.

      As such, it is hard to consider any process to be necessarily "the" cause for any success or any failure. Waterfall has well-known failure modes due to increasing cost of change v. increasing irrelevance of requirements & design. Agile combats that.American-style manufacturing and pre-lean Asian style manufacturing has known failure modes that are addressed by Lean. So when we use XP and/or Lean methods, we should fail differently. Nonetheless, failure unrelentingly stalks us all.

      That we have as many successes as we have is astounding, but cannot be necessarily attributed merely to lean or agile methods, nor merely to leadership, nor merely to craftsmanship.

      Tim Ottinger
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