Agile vs Lean
Lean Engineering? No, it's Lean Manufacturing. It's the Toyota PRODUCTION System. Tachii Ohno would be turning in his grave.
I have a very jaundiced view of Agile Development because people so frequently q.v. Sick Sigma. Sick Sigma is the revenge of the toolheads and whilst it has had success in very narrow domains, in a broader context it has been a failure. And hey, don't you just need a whole bunch of new tools to do Agile Development? Not, but that's how it's sold.
When Agile Development toolheads q.v. Lean it's because they don't really understand some of the basic premises of Lean. Lean is NOT a toolset, it's a philosophy. But you see it sold as tools.
On top of this, there have been suggestions that what Toyota does is something that has grown up organically and is imprinted in the cultural DNA of Toyota. Whilst other organisation can learn lessons for Toyota, they can not duplicate what Toyota has done.
Toyota, on the project front, works very differently from many western organisations. My understanding (from people who have worked with them) is that they take an awful long time to make decisions, because they look at evidence and try to build consensus. When they make a decision, they act very quickly. This is very different from western styles of management - especially project management - where decisions are often made on a whim, without consultation and not implemented until ages after the decision was made.
Also, I will mention "genchi genbutsu" - literally "go see it for yourself". Having been on the sharp end of being a user of a project output - did the project manager come and see what I did? No. Did any of the developers come and see what I did? No. They just worked to some crappy spec knocked up by an external consultant, who only saw me for two minutes and wanted to talk to senior managers wherear muggins actually did the worm. And I work for an organisation that has, over time done i) Sick Sigma ii) Lean and iii) Agile Development. And BSI stands for "Bull Shit Institute" not "British Standard Institute".
One of the ways that Toyota has achieved it's famous levels of quality is by standardisation of tasks. I've seen arguments that this is not applicable in a service context. It may well be applicable to development if you wish to productionalise development. There are some strong arguments for this, but it rubs many developers up the wrong way.
The arrogance of some developers is frightening. Prima donnas with Aspergers.
Something else that Toyota does is develop it's own talent from within. And promotion takes time. Very different to western thinking that sometimes treat developers as guns-for-hire. Oh, formal methods over creavity as well.
Worse still, I've seen rogue project managers not being brought to book for their failures. They are not asked to "go to 'gemba'". Implement, end of story. It's some else's job to shovel up the sh!t they've left behind. When was the last time you went to a project wash-up meeting? When was the last time that you came across anyone who had a "lessons learnt" database and actually did anything with it.
Project managers with Teflon coating.
Oh, and it's worth pointing out that I have worked in engineering and project management of big engineering projects. I lived through the first wave of ISO 9000. I was there when Prince was rolled out. I'm married to a Prince 2 master practitioner who has done huge building projects. Etc, etc... It's not as if I don't know what I'm talking about.
Do your culture change first, otherwise whatever you think Agile Development is, will wither on the vine.