Insights and outlooks on software development


On Operational Excellence

Sunday, February 14, 2010 by Thomas L

A quote from The Toyota Way - Using Operational Excellence as a Strategic Weapon:

We place the highest value on actual implementation and taking action. There are many things one doesn’t understand and therefore, we ask them why don’t you just go ahead and take action; try to do something? You realize how little you know and you face your own failures and you simply can correct those failures and redo it again and at the second trial you realize another mistake or another thing you didn’t like so you can redo it once again. So by constant improvement, or, should I say, the improvement based upon action, one can rise to the higher level of practice and knowledge.

—Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation, 2002

If we compare this to the XP/Agile way of building software, this is more or less the same. Instead of doing BDUF, we develop a small slice through the system (Alastair Cockburn calls this pattern “Walking Skeleton”; the Pragmatic Programmers call it “Tracer Bullets”). Then we inspect the way the current implementation works, learn and adapt.