Play Toyota strategy, not Ford's, Neville Roy Singham tells IT firms

Written by Economy Bureau | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Dec 11 2008, 08:04am hrs
India has got a wrong metaphor in software development by following the CMM (Capability Maturity Model), according to Neville Roy Singham.

Singham, founder and chairman of ThoughtWorks. Inc, is known worldwide as an IT thought-leader. It is Toyota business strategy and not the Ford model that is more valid now.

The countries and companies have to focus on how to develop more effective and creative software, he said, during his lecture at the Free Software and Free Society conference - the second international conference on Freedom in Computing, Development and Culture - on Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Agile Software development methodology is a competent business model in the present world scenario, which helps to achieve this end, he said. One, the Agile model is flexible, and focuses more on working on the software than its documentation. Two, it gives more importance to individuals and interactions than the processes and it stresses on customer collaboration. It changes the brain of the software developer, and thus helps to create a more effective product with less time taken, he points out.

Singham compared the working atmosphere put forward by the free software and open source software movements like that of the Toyota business models which brought in Lean revolution. According to the book "Machine that Changed the World" (1990: James Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos), Lean Production is a term coined by John Krafcik of MIT because it uses less of everything compared to conventional production techniques - half the labor effort, half of the space, half the development hours, half of the production time, and many fewer defects.

In a Lean revolution, the skills of the employees are utilized maximum and each worker gets an overall picture about the product. This Toyota business model is totally different from the business strategy adopted by Ford, where the workers are entrusted with monotonous work and their creativity is little utilized, Singham said.

The Lean revolution, according to him, is changing the process and standards of production and the coming ten years will witness more dramatic changes than that of the last 40 years.