For Maximum Awesome: An Interview with Joe Justice

[interview]

JJ: It’s playing out on the international stage right now, where Extreme Manufacturing, agility, 

Extreme Programming, and Scrum are changing the way people work at all levels. The banking sector is booming with it as well: ING, Rabobank, JPMorgan Chase, the Royal Bank of Canada are all Scrum adopters. Some of them had additional agility technical best practices to help them accelerate their work—Scrum patterns, even, in some cases. The world is absolutely changing, and what we expect to see is companies are doubling in velocity. Companies who haven’t figured out how to do that are folding—they are going out of business.

In the TEDx talk I had a chance to give in November 2011, I proposed that all companies are going to have to try to work this way or they’ll become irrelevant or be unable to compete. That trend seems to have accelerated—that’s exactly what we are experiencing. Deloitte Consulting Center for the Edge calls it "the big shift.” It’s a massive die-off for companies that don’t have agility and a massive acceleration and very profitable time for companies who do.

CP: What does that really mean for—kind of from a social perspective—what does that mean for everyone else? You talked about how the price of a car—and you are building the car and whatnot—what does it really mean for some of the underdeveloped countries? Or even the EU, which has its own problems—what does it mean for a society as a whole?

JJ: It looks like goods are coming with an increased pace of innovation, so we think about the time it took for us to get from the iPhone 1 to the iPhone 4, for example. That amount of time should become one-tenth of the time. Not that there is such a meaningful jump between firms or processors or laptops or cars, but that the pace of innovation doubles or more. The Honda Civic Hybrid got an additional two miles per gallon across a six-year span. We’ll expect it to be two miles per gallon a month if they hit Extreme Manufacturing. We should see Moore’s law apply much more broadly than just computer power, but to usability, ergonomics, and user value as well.

That should become less—what can I say—centralized in the most developed countries and much more broadly distributed, where we have very rural, historically poor countries becoming even players in the international commerce battle field. The customers being the winner in every region.

CP: With that being said, what do you think the greatest challenge is for some of these undeveloped countries, or for really even companies here in the United States or anywhere else, to widely adapt that process of Extreme Manufacturing?

JJ: Cultural inertia is the biggest block I’ve hit when I’m working with companies. They say, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it, why would we change?” Yet they have a mandate saying we have to produce the next tractor or the next software package in half the time and half the price if we are going to remain competitive. Yet they say often, “This is the way we’ve always done it we can't change. Why would we change?” As soon as companies are willing to look precisely at the way they do their work, suddenly they are allowed to make evidence-based decisions on their work, and that’s where these advantages come into play.

The biggest challenge tends to be this sense of "this is the way it’s always been done" or "that’s always the way we do it right here at this company." Maybe that works for so-and-so down the road, but it couldn’t work here. Once folks open their mind to the possibilities, that’s where we start to see big wins.

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Cameron Philipp-Edmonds's picture Cameron Philipp-Edmonds

When not working on his theory of time travel, Cameron T. Philipp-Edmonds is writing for TechWell, StickyMinds, and AgileConnection. With a background in advertising and marketing, Cameron is partial to the ways that technology can enhance a company's brand equity. In his personal life, Cameron enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic dinners by candlelight, and playing practical jokes on his coworkers.

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