I started off my career in IT as a tester or test manager and I’ve had twenty odd years of working around the world on companies big and small.

Just when I thought the IT industry had stagnated and was subsiding into a morass of blunt instruments and simplistic aphorisms — along came a paradigm shift, the like of which I believe we have never seen before.

Cheap storage and virtualisation led to the cloud revolution which led to continuous integration which led to devops… well it hasn’t been quite like that, but you get the idea. …

I started my testing career eighteen years ago, mostly by accident.

I was a programmer doing tech support for a multimedia conference when I struck up a conversation with one of the presenters. Peter rang me up a couple of weeks later and said “We’re starting a testing centre, why don’t you come and help us set it up?”

“But I don’t know anything about testing,” I protested.

“That’s okay,” said Peter, “we’ll fly you to Seattle so you can learn.”

How could I refuse?

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So after helping set up the hardware and network for what was to become the “Australian Multimedia Testing Centre” (now Access Testing in Sydney), I flew to Seattle, to a place called STLabs. They did testing for Microsoft and Adobe and a bunch of other software companies on the west coast of America. …

The way we measure production is fatally flawed.

In fact the way we look at work is fatally flawed.

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In traditional service and manufacturing, managers are tasked with keeping men and machines busy. If the ‘plant’ is busy then it must be productive. The busier it is the more productive it is.

Typically this means running large batches of product in shifts which produce large amounts of inventory which are then stored in the hope a customer will buy them.

The Toyota Way

But about fifty years ago a revolution in manufacturing started at a company called the Toyota Motor Corporation. A unique combination of individuals came together to develop a system that became known as the “Toyota Way” or Lean. …


Nick Jenkins

A thinker, writer and consultant with a passion for things Lean & Agile : www.nickjenkins.net

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