How not to let Scrum / Kanban go down the drain like 6Sigma
In my introduction to this blog - the hidden origin of Agile, I said that it was important to know where Agile is coming from to really be able to apply it truthfully. Worst if the majority of Scrum and Kanban consultants continue to ignore this, it is probable that mid-term – within 5 years – these two methods would be going down the drain like 6Sigma did. Of course the 6Sigma Consulting Industry is till alive and flourishing but except if you are part of it, as a practionner you know what I mean. In fact in the latest version of ITIL, statistical process control has been removed (I will come back to SPC as having been a specialist of it in the past – because this should not be taken as a critics of control charts).
Kanban is rising today somehow challenging Scrum – term like bureaucracy for Scrum is being heard – though of course in all courtesy Kanban advocates are wise enough not to declare an open war and invite to incorporate Kanban with Scrum). In fact Scrum is now clearly on the road to “corporatisation” by praising integration of Scrum within CMMI.
As both Scrum and Kanban claim their inheritance from Lean they should look at what’s happening in the traditional Industry as Jim Clemmer, leadership expert, writes:
“Originally Six Sigma was derived from Toyota Quality Management (TQM) by Motorola to achieve six sigma levels of quality, and then through Allied Signal and GE it morphed to projects by Black Belts based on statistics to become a cost-reduction program—every project needs a clear ROI. In other words, we denigrated the program from a leadership philosophy to a bunch of one-off projects to cut costs. It was a complete bastardization of the original, and it rarely led to lasting, sustainable change because the leadership and culture were missing.
“A similar thing happened to lean when it got reduced to a toolkit (e.g., value-stream mapping, KPI boards, cells, kanban).
“Lean and Six Sigma in no way reflect the original thinking of excellent Japanese companies or their teachers like Deming.”
So what’s the core problem with Scrum and Kanban “experts” today in software “industry” ? They focus too much on the tools and in a few years these experts risk to be dismissed because they do not teach people what really matters: make people embrace a holistic viewpoint and let them be able to build their own tools or at least adapt the existing ones to their real context. All this without violating the fundamental principles of True Quality – Quality that should be operational, by the People for the People to solve actual problems – not for the Consulting Industry like the Business Analysts do in Wall Street.
As would say Deming (played below by Mike Micklewright), do not copy the tools from others, emulate the principles.