I regularly hear my colleagues say: “We already started something without a detailed preparation. We still have to do this, this and this.” That is exactly why the ‘Agile’ working method suits us so well, I think.
A year ago I saw the training SCRUM on the MCB E-campus, a training from Goodhabitz. A flexible project methodology to get more overview and more results in complex projects. Not a whole blueprint or business case first, but in small steps to the final goal. Certainly because this end goal (in our case often a service concept for a customer) can often change during the process. Or because you simply have to start immediately. The world around us is changing very quickly, the customer’s wish of today can be different in a month.
If you search for Agile at Google, you will see different meanings. Initially, Agile was mainly used in the ICT world. In order to prevent the failure of costly IT projects, Agile has been developed.
Nowadays Agile is often used in the sense of flexible. And that makes working Agile is a way of working that is about flexibility. Flexibility is needed because the world around us is changing faster and faster.
In fact, it is more like a philosophy: Learning by doing. Or even better, doing things with small steps and achieving success. Then implementing something after a lot of work and fail. And that is exactly why the method suits us.
In the MCB culture the down-to-earth, Brabant mentality is ingrained. We find complex, long-term projects difficult: just start, we will see where it ends.
When we started with SCRUM and also with Visual Management, our coach Marco wrote on the board: “Make fast and many mistakes, but do not make the same mistake twice.” I think that is exactly what we have learned from our parents in the past. “It is not so bad son, you learn from that”, I heard my parents say when I was in elementary school. This has been scrapped in our education in the years that followed. I can still remember the many red-limed tests (I can hear you think: “he must have learned a lot”).
So a different mindset is needed. Making mistakes is something you do not like yourself and it is even “not done” in many company cultures. Within MCB we get the space to make mistakes, as long as it does not entail any financial risks.
More and more of our customers ask us to think about minimizing the stock in the chain. Both the customer and MCB benefit from the fact that the stock is as low as possible. Within the topic LEAN, it says a lot that stock is one of the seven wastes.
Because it often happens that a solution is required immediately, we form a scrum team internally with a number of specialists. On the one hand to quickly offer a solution on the other hand to ensure that the process is secured within MCB. The account manager of MCB ensures that the customer’s wishes are well communicated and keeps the customer continuously informed of the progress. Through a team of specialists the wishes of the customer are translated into new processes and working methods.
We regularly evaluate together with the customer what can be done better. We have successfully implemented Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) at around 50 clients, thanks to the flexible approach of the team. Which is Agile ..