Manufacturing Consumer Goods

HNCK5350-ManufacturingThis non-IT Agile case-study is about the assessment of the introduction of an Agile approach to streamline the key design functions of a well-known Swiss retailer. This covered the process from 2D, 3D and prototype design right through to commercialization.

The organisation had experienced 100% growth within a five-year period. Such rapid growth however, came with significant “Growing Pains” including:

  • Over reliance on key individuals
  • People not feeling responsible
  • Constant context switching resulting in lack of focus
  • Everything being equally important
  • The feeling that key individuals had to work on everything
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It was believed that such issues were leading to extended time-to-market of new products. The management team knew that they were capable of delivering new products to the market in less than three months. However, the norm was approximately 14 months i.e. over one year.

These problems were already well known to the management team. As such they were already looking at adopting agile methods specifically Scrum and were looking for guidance and assurance that they were on the right track.

What was Done?

Together with one of the co-founders and principal designer and the CEO of the organisation, we prepared and ran the executive management workshop to identify the next key steps towards agile adoption.

To set the scene, we needed to make sure that the participants always had the vision and values of the organisation at the centre of any decisions.

Crucially we also established a common understanding of the agile and lean practices currently being practiced within Switzerland to make sure that the participants recognised that Scrum was indeed the correct choice.

To identify key activities to be started after the workshop we examined how people focused whilst working within the existing product development design process. The proposed Scrum process was reviewed and we also looked at how agile methods impact management and human resources. The co-location and physical aspects were also examined.

Several retrospective were performed to allow the management team to digest and reflect upon new information as it emerged during the workshop. These were collected as thoughts that were “Good”, “OK” or “Could be Better”.

All the feedback in the “Could be Better” category was then grouped into common collections. These collections were then named and assigned owners.

Immediate Outcomes

Eight collections were identified and named as activities that were to be addressed. These included not only “people management” and “knowledge management” but also how the organisation could be “physically organised”.

Owners within the management team were assigned to each activity with the responsibility to implement improvement measures.

After Six Months

The impact of the Workshop has resulted in the following:

  1. Scrum has successfully been introduced into the company for creative projects within Design and Commercial departments.
  2. The project of introducing Scrum into the operational company processes will have been successfully ended within one year.
  3. The new roles have been trained and will be integrated into the daily project execution.
  4. First concrete steps towards Beyond Budgeting are being introduced.

About the Clients

The client wishes to remain anonymous. However, this case-study has been agreed by them.

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