For Maximum Awesome: An Interview with Joe Justice


CP: OK. What is an easy way or an easy couple of ways or to get people started with the Extreme Manufacturing process?

JJ: For a whole company at a time, if they add a process coached to their board of advisors or their board of directors, they’ll be able to start adding agility across the entire company. At the team level, we would expect them to have a process coach or a ScrumMaster always monitoring the value stream map of that team. For a team member, we would expect them to be continually asking their teams’ process coach or ScrumMaster what they can do to increase efficiency across their team. For customers, we would expect them to start demanding much more frequent updates in hardware and software—not tolerating an eighteen-month or a five-year plan, even for massive hardware projects.

CP: OK. You also talked about, in one of your TED Talks, that you like to see visual flow and be able to visually see things. Are there any other tools you think are really important for getting the Extreme Manufacturing process now?

JJ: A visible impediment list—anything that the delivery team thinks is preventing them from accelerating is critical. If that’s not easily visible and anyone can't easily add items to it, it’s going to really slow everybody down. Then, support from the top tier. Usually the investors or the investors' delegates in the company through the board of directors. They directly look at that impediment list and they often need to make managerial decisions to remove those impediments. The impediments are typically organizational structure or the way they work with suppliers.

We have an executive action team who are working on behalf of the shareholders to remove impediments from the delivery team. The delivery team making their impediments extremely visible and thinking really hard about what they are during every sprint—what’s preventing them from accelerating. That entire flow is modeled by a value stream map and making their flow visible to optimize the amount of stuff they can get done with quality. That’s usually catered to by a skilled ScrumMaster who is making a value stream map of that team every sprint. Then we expect the burn-up chart—that gives us every win we would always wish for in traditional management.

We would want to know what’s going to ship, when it’s going to ship, and how much it’s going to cost. All of that is visible from the burn-up chart. We have the scope what is going to ship; we have when it’s going to ship in terms of a timeline with the standard deviation around it. We know what date range of when this thing is going to cross our threshold of becoming a viable product. Then, by knowing the consumption rate of the team, how much money it takes to run that team per sprint—and if it’s a hardware team, that includes hardware consumables—we then can project the end cost. It’s currently the most accurate way we have to predict all of the above.

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