Comments for Lean development: speed and flexibility

Charles Vidrequin
ADANT Aurore, CALCUS Sophie, CLOQUET Nelson, VANDEN HERREWEGEN Géraldine, VIDREQUIN Charles. Rigby, D. K., Sutherland, J., & Takeuchi, H. (2016). Embracing agile. Harvard Business Review, 94(5), 40-50. Executive summary This article was about the agile methodology and how managers should implement the method. The three key insights are a roadmap towards an agile venture. The article started with the 5 conditions for agile…
Read more

ADANT Aurore, CALCUS Sophie, CLOQUET Nelson, VANDEN HERREWEGEN Géraldine, VIDREQUIN Charles.

Rigby, D. K., Sutherland, J., & Takeuchi, H. (2016).
Embracing agile. Harvard Business Review, 94(5), 40-50.

Executive summary

This article was about the agile methodology and how managers should implement the method. The three key insights are a roadmap towards an agile venture. The article started with the 5 conditions for agile to work. Those are: an unpredictable market environment, a high-level of customer involvement, innovation type meaning complex problem and importance of close collaboration, modularity of the work if incremental developments can get value in the customer eyes and finally the impact of interim mistakes.

Secondly the article said that a new agile dynamic should start small within the company and then let the word spread. They also mentioned that agile methods once set, can and should be customize by experienced practitioners.
The third and last key insight is about embracing agile for the top management. The authors talk about 3 points of action to implement agile in top management: catching up with the troops, the leader as engine of the agile transition and finally aligning departments.

That implicates that manager should decide with good care whether the anticipated payoffs will justify the effort and expenses of transition. Agile tends to have no result in routine operation such as purchasing and accounting for example. Being agile requires training and time to be fully operational. It also implies that some company could face tension between agile and non-agile team. It means that the message delivered by the decision maker should get everyone on the same page.

While keeping those implications in mind, managers should pay attention to the development of the agile methodology. Inexperience in such domain can lead to failure, SIREN is an UK case of large-scale IT project that lacked understanding of the agile approach. It led them to inadequate governance, to communication issues and wrong estimation of costs. Another limitation is not recognizing the immediate significance of organizational culture which could lead to inefficiency in Agile method.

Further references:
• Kiv, Soreangsey; Heng, Samedi ; Kolp, Manuel ; Wautelet, Yves. An intentional perspective on partial agile adoption. Louvain Research Institute in Management and Organizations Working Paper Series; 2017/10 (2017)
• Keeley Wilson; Yves L.Doz. Agile Innovation: A Footprint Balancing Distance and Immersion. California Review Management; Winter 2011 ; Vol.53, No. 2

Show less
Reply
Gilles De Buijst, Alice De Walque, Guillaume Delande, Robin Josse, Nathalie Garron (Group 6)

(Article) Still, K. (2017). Accelerating Research Innovation by Adopting the Lean Startup Paradigm. Technology Innovation Management Review, 7(5).

Key Insights 1)What is the lean Startup? The lean startup is the launch of an economic activity according to scientific experiment. It gives a solution toward a specific customer problem. The method is based on interaction with customers, understanding of their needs and quick market implementation. Finally, the main goal is to build a successful business by following a precise and…
Read more

Key Insights
1)What is the lean Startup? The lean startup is the launch of an economic activity according to scientific experiment. It gives a solution toward a specific customer problem. The method is based on interaction with customers, understanding of their needs and quick market implementation. Finally, the main goal is to build a successful business by following a precise and scientific method and accelerate the market entry of the innovation. Lean startup can be separated into three steps. (Appendix 1) 2) The importance of the context : The context could enable an acceleration of the innovation process. Entrepreneurial innovation is profoundly affected by its context. (Autio et al. 2014) The environment an individual works in is likely to have a great influence on his behavior. The main environmental factors identified by Kalar and Antonic are the culture, the policies and the routines. The entrepreneurial activities at the research context differ from the entrepreneurial activities in startups and internal startups in established organizations. This article highlights the interdependencies of the research context’s innovation process with the surrounding innovation ecosystem. The context does make a difference and the research context has been approaching innovation from a different perspective. 3) The European Paradox: Technology Transfer : The article comes further with the “European paradox” which is the perceived failure of the European countries to translate scientific advances into marketable innovations. This is the problematic of the” Technology Transfer”. The role of universities is to produce new knowledge but also to disseminate this knowledge to industry and society. In most areas, the results of scientific research are not directly useful for technological advances. The university researchers tend to be more focused on technology development than on other equally important aspects of business. It appears that business organizations and the public research organizations have different goals. (exploration VS exploitation).

IMPLICATIONS:
1- The Innovation Acceleration Model: How to address that European Paradox? It’s necessary to stimulate the private sector and to remove the bottlenecks that stops innovative ideas from reaching the market. The author builds a new model inspired by the lean startup paradigm to address that issue. It is the Innovative Acceleration Model. (see Appendix 2)
2- Why research organizations are seen as valuable partners in business? There are two ways to implement the Innovative Acceleration Model. the first one is by partnering with Research Organizations. When a company is launched, at the beginning the need of resources is very important but human resources are also often limited. In this case, finding a research organization as partner can be helpful. It has been proved that firms who collaborate with Public Research Organization are more likely to develop innovation.
3- Partnership with existing startups
The other way of applying the Innovative Acceleration Model is to buy the knowledge to another company. Indeed, some startups develop new technologies but don’t have the sufficient capabilities to exploit all the possibilities of this technology (lack of financial resources or lack of human capital for example). In this case, it is interesting for bigger companies to redeem these little startups. It is the case of DIGISFERA, a Portuguese company acquired by Google to improve Google Street View.

3) Limitations

1- Limited validation of the proposed Innovative Acceleration Model: The number of research approaches analyzed was limited; And the approach was aligned with a single case example from VTT.
2- Entrepreneurship = state of mind
Only the methodological aspect is taken in account in the Innovative Acceleration Model, but the author doesn’t speak about the human resources necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur. In business, there is a particular state of mind required. An entrepreneur must be motivated, persistent, optimistic and it must have a leader attitude to manage team. These elements don’t fit into the analysis of research Organization and that is why there is no magic spell to always succeed in business, because this is based on humans, all different.
3- Clear definition of responsibilities: Clear call for clarity of roles and responsibilities of various ecosystem players and for addressing the dynamics of such systems.
4- Further research on the growth phase: Growth discovery phase absent of the researches: Doesn’t explore further the growth discovery/scaling being largely absent from the research context.

Further references :
FURTHER REFERENCES:
-Täuscher, Karl & Abdelkafi, Nizar. Modelling the Lean Startup: A Simulation Tool for Entrepreneurial Growth Decisions. Proceedings of the 16th EURAM Conference,Paris, June 1–4 2016.
As we mentioned in the limitations, the growth discovery phase is absent of the researches, and this article suggests that entrepreneurs should identify the dominant feedback loop driving the growth of their business and consequently focus their resources on this “engine of growth”. Because it is difficult to assess the strength of different feedback loops, this research therefore develops a decision support tool to help entrepreneurs in their strategic growth decisions.

-Erik Stavnsager, Rasmussen and Stoyan Tanev.The Emergence of the Lean Global Startup as a New Type of Firm. Technology Innovation Management Review. November 2015 (Volume 5, Issue 11).
This article deepens the concept of lean start-up. It discus about two different cases: one referring to generic lean startup that have undertaken a rapid internationalization strategy. And the other discuss about startups that have started operating on global scale since the beginning and then adopted the lean startup approach. The article also highlights some aspects that could be helpful to conceptualize lean global startups as a special new type of firm.

-Edvardsson, Kristensson, Magnusson and Sundström. Customer integration within service development-A review of methods and an analysis of insitu and exsitu contributions. Technovation. August 2012.
As we learned on the key insights, lean startup is a method based on customer interaction, and this paper precisely covers this issue. Indeed, the article reviews and classifies methods for customer integration and also presents a new framework that suggests four modes of customer integration.

Appendix 1 :
1) Customer discovery: producing an initial concept: vision for a new business with committed people. 2) Solution discovery: high-value concept with user acceptance and resources to move forward. 3) Value proposition discovery: (go-to-market) validated and desired solution produced with an initial business model and resources to move forward. 4) Growth discovery: scaling and creating a sustainable business, which then is expected to result in money to create new business ideas, as well as channels, networks and brand. This is a model of continuous refinement.

Appendix 2 :
1) Ensure that the product vision matches with problems customers can have and that are worth solving (=customer centric, qualitative observation). 2) build a Minimum Viable Product that customers can try because a qualitative feedback is important. 3) Launch the MVP on the market and check if there is a viable market for the solution.

Show less
Reply
Guillaume Deghorain, Quentin Desmet, Brieuc de Thibault, Florian Homez, Marty Mayne ,Valentin Vendy

Denning, S. (2013). Why Agile can be a game change for managing continuous innovation in many industries. Strategy & Leadership, 41(2), 5 – 11.

Key insights : There are many myths and beliefs about Agile working, such as : 1) « Agile is only for small firms and small projects and does not fit with all kind of industries. Those with big projects or big processes like manufacturers cannot apply Agile. » That myth is due to decades of using the same way of…
Read more

Key insights :
There are many myths and beliefs about Agile working, such as : 1) « Agile is only for small firms and small projects and does not fit with all kind of industries. Those with big projects or big processes like manufacturers cannot apply Agile. » That myth is due to decades of using the same way of working. However, today’s managers should assume the opposite because nowadays customers have multiple choices and a fluctuant demand so that business success depends on the ability to answer to these fluctuations. 2) « Agile does not fit to many companies’ cultures ». Agile does not fit the old and bureaucratic structure like production departments. But what does not fit bureaucracy either is the needed responsiveness to the market demand. 3) « Agile need self-motivated, skilled and responsible workers, which is tough to find. So tight control is the best solution available ». On the contrary, many organizations have seen benefits in the recent years from recognizing team performance rather than individual success or assuming that employees are proactive and responsible.

Implications :
1. Change the culture and the mindset by changing employee’s behaviour. The company might use agile business “game” for the employees (ex. week-end organised by Mastercard) and must promote initiative without grumbling the failure (ex. 5000 prototypes of Dyson). The objective is not to take risk (by launching prototype) but to learn.
2. Reduce management control so that project teams can be increasingly autonomous and have more responsibilities. It could be done by creating smaller teams with constant and informal feedbacks. More and more companies try to achieve even more this objective by setting up an horizontal organisation, it promotes initiative and individual responsibilities. Concrete tools like Trello and other team management softwares can be used.
3. Be customer-oriented to propose to clients customized products that will fit their needs. To do so, companies could launch prototypes of their final product to see what can be improved and ask for client’s feedback. (ex: Apple Genius Bar which help to solve customer’s issues).
Limitations :
1. Agile is not adapted to every industries. For example, industries where there are a lot of routines and where people cannot take initiatives (ex: Audi A1 plant in Brussel with a linear process flow). Moreover, industries which based their business models on economics of scale cannot afford to do agile, otherwise, they will not be able to do economics of scale anymore.
2. Another limitation is the problems of mindset inside the company between departments, particularly between an agile management and operations department. On one side, you want flexibility with responsibilities to launch prototypes, but on the other side you want a clear process flow, a plan with some equipments which are build to design a product and not to change over time.
3. It is hard to change the culture in hierarchical and well established companies. The resistance might come from the top where managers with years of experience do not want to change their way of working and want to keep their strong position by not giving too many responsibilities. There is also another reason why they do not give so easily responsibility, it is because if you do, you must trust the person in charge and so, there will be part of work which will be uncontrollable and less certain.

Further references:
– (Video) Agile working: an innovation in the way we work | Anne Cantelo | TEDxWoking. Online : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y92DoljtYTk , consulted the 13 of December 2018. ↳ Anne Cantelo explain why Agile will help productivity, environment, communities, well being, etc.
– Grangel, R. & Campos, C. (2018), Agile Model-Driven Methodology to Implement Corporate Social Responsibility, Computers & Industrial Engineering,
Vol. 127, pp. 116-128. Online : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360835218305928 , consulted the 13 of December 2018. ↳ This article will help you to implement Corporate Social Responsibility with an agile model-driven methodology.
– Denning, S. (2017), “The age of Agile”, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 45 Issue: 1, pp.3-10. Online : https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/SL-12-2016-0086 , consulted the 13 of December 2018. ↳ This article describes the way agile model can be used to accelerate improvement performance.

Show less
Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Identify the bibliographic reference you are commenting.

You may use simple HTML tags to add links or lists to your comment:
<a href="url">link</a> <ul><li>list item 1</li><li>list item2</li></ul> <em>italic</em> <strong>bold</strong>