Can the Manufacturing industry (non-software) embrace Scrum?

Yes, the manufacturing industry can not only embrace scrum, but also reap all the benefits Scrum has to offer and I had the privilege to work with one of the largest Garment Manufacturers and exporters on their Agile journey.

The software development falls in complex domain and so does the garment manufacturing industry. The 3 major domains in which changes happen and that is similar to software development are

  1. Changing Requirements: It is very difficult to predict what the customer wants. the Fit, the Trims, the Fabric, the pattern & style etc.
    Source: Ralph Stacey, University of Hertfordshire

    Source: Ralph Stacey, University of Hertfordshire

  2. Technological changes: Faster and faster automated fabric cutting and sewing machines are available all the times.
  3. People: The entire garment manufacturing process is based on people and skills. It is heavily dependent on specialized skills & their availability

I was surprised by the fact that in bulk manufacturing a trouser changes 70 different hands before it’s ready to be shipped and a jacket changes over 120 different hands before it is ready to be shipped.

The organization wanted to move to scrum for following reasons:

  1. Improve communication and collaboration between different units.
  2. Improve the overall customer satisfaction and be more predictable with their shipment.
  3. Improve the overall discipline and have a standardized process across the organization.
  4. Improve time to market – across their different areas of Product Development (R&D), Pre-production and Production
  5. Improve transparency between various function, improve their team morale, work in Teams with a clear focus towards organizational vision and mission statement.
  6. Quick decision making, self-organizing, empowered and highly motivated teams

The Adoption was done in 3 stages and I am including a snippet of the video

  1. Assessment to baseline where they are. What is working for them and what are their pain points
  2. Scrum Training – educating participants on Scrum through plenty of exercises
  3. Team formation and sprinting


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