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How Agile is disrupting the Manufacturing Industry #DisruptAllTheThings

When you have spent a few years researching and practicing Agile software development you tend to not be surprised by new developments. I know I wasn’t… until I saw Joe Justice at #ALE13.

Joe is working on a project to build a car that will disrupt the automotive industry. You don’t believe me? Well, what if I told you that they are building a car that costs (with profit) USD25000, has a 5-star equivalent rating and achieves 1.25ltr/100km (or 100 MPG)? Still don’t believe me? What if this car could have any part changed as quickly as you change a tyre on a normal car? Yes, even changing the engine is that quick!!

All about this car is revolutionary, but the most revolutionary part in this project is how they are building the car. Joe presented Xtreme Manufacturing as a method that puts together what we have learned in the software industry through Extreme Programming, Scrum, Test Driven Development and other methods.

You see, the thing that will be the most disrupted by Joe’s work is how cars are built. Cars are built in Billion Dollar/Euro factories. Every time some part changes it costs millions to change the machinery necessary to produce that part. Not in Joe’s project – Wikispeed! The Wikispeed car has a carbon fiber body. They can change the whole body with a few 100’s of Euros worth of investment and in about 1 day. That’s how fast it is.

Joe and the Wikispeed team have been able to take a 7+ year process (design + manufacturing) and turned into a few weeks. There is no doubt in my mind, Wikispeed will forever change the car industry. Now if you excuse me I have to go meet some car industry executives…

Check out Joe’s presentation at TEDx Rainier

And here is a tv show explaining some of the cool details of the Wikispeed car itself

Photo credit: brewbooks @ flickr

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