Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Agile development/testing also recalled?

The book
Sometimes I heard and read about the “Toyota Way” when reading articles or attending presentations related to Agile Testing/Development. Quite often the Toyota Way of working is mentioned to support the Agile way of working/Thinking. There seems to be a good book which explains this approach. I hoop to obtain this book very soon : The Toyota way – Jeffrey K.Liker ISBN: 0-071392-319>

The source
Even a “wiki-pedia” page is supporting the approach and mentioning it is one of the pillars of lean software development.
From Agile software development: "The functioning principles of Agile can be found in lean manufacturing and six sigma. These concepts include error proofing, eliminating waste, creating flow, adding customer value, and empowering workers. The concepts were first formally espoused in the 14 principles of the Toyota Way, the two pillars of the Toyota Production System (Just-in-time and smart automation), the 5S methodology, and Deming’s 14 points. These have been summarized in the seven points of lean software development"

The Assumption
When you follow the news lately you might have noticed that cars are recalled. In this case also Toyota. If I assume correct, then the products of Toyota are also cars, their way of working is like the Toyota Way. Based on that way, cars are produced. If cars are recalled because there is an error in the software. then it seems that people rely too much on that approach. If this approach is fallible, the perhaps the approach which using it as basis is also fallible.

The news
Quoted from Toyota Recalls Reach Prius, Hybrids on Brake Software (Update1): “In Japan, Toyota will call back 223,068 hybrids to repair computers in anti-lock brake systems, according to a notice filed to the Transport Ministry today.
“We will redouble our commitment to quality,” Toyoda, 53, said today in Tokyo. “I would like to apologize again to our customers who are worried about Toyota’s quality and safety.”

From the same article: "49 Lawsuits
“The carmaker faces at least 49 lawsuits filed on behalf of customers in the U.S. and Canada seeking a range of damages in sudden-acceleration cases. It also faces at least 13 lawsuits brought by individuals claiming deaths or injuries.” "

The question
I wonder if an error of a product have such an impact would the approach also be revised or only the products of that approach. If parts of the agile thoughts are based on the Toyota Way, shouldn't the Agile approach also not be recalled for revision? Shouldn't the people who are relying on such an approach be recalled?

I don't think Agile should be recalled. Still we can learn and should learn from it. If you rely on an approach, keep questioning that approach. Perhaps the issues could be found if they tested better. Looking to this specific issue I can imagine that this error couldn't be found in normal testing easily. Experience testers can make the difference here. Instead of checking exploring or thinking about "touring" might helped. I wouldn't recall Agile. Instead using an example as this to define other tours might support/help.

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