This is a repost from my old blog from a cached page recovered.
Final Product of the first day of WINNISPEED
This morning I woke up, had some coffee and built a car. Today was the first day of WINNISPEED, an event hosted by Red River College. At WINNISPEED we met a man named Joe Justice and he talked to us about Agile development and how this can be applied to extreme manufacturing. If you haven’t ever heard of Agile development then you should take a minute to read about it because it is one of the most popular software development methods out there today. Some people love it and some people hate it but it is not a secret that it is very effective. All 10 of the most profitable technologies in the world use Agile development in their shops and when you are working twice as fast and twice as happy you are making a lot more money.
WINNISPEED was an introduction to extreme manufacturing. This is taking agile software development techniques and applying them to another industry. This can be done for really any other industry out there but in this event we applied it to hardware. In just 7 separate 1 hour long sprints we went from a pile of various parts to an (almost) complete electric car. This was quite an achievement for some of us who have never even changed our own oil, let alone built a car from (almost) scratch.
In the first 15 minutes of the morning we quickly self organized ourselves to have everybody with their own name tag all by running to the front of the room and then arranging ourselves in a random line that started at no experience using agile and ending with professional. I was somewhere near the 2 thirds mark with experience just due to reading about it and attempting to implement it in some of my projects. After this we split into groups and met some people we would be working with for the rest of the day.
Once we got down stairs to start building the car we quickly got into our groups organized to start. There was not a lot of time to think about what we were going to do but instead quickly get our task from the SCRUM Master and go to work. After 7 intense sprints and a few set backs with various bolts going missing and needing to get the help of the welding department we rolled the car out of the garage and into the parking lot for the final photo shoot.
Agile is so effective because it allows people to quickly form teams and you can quickly see who has strengths and weaknesses. Agile allows you to rapidly react to change as opposed to long development cycles that restrict your ability to change something. If product owner wants to change something half way through you can implement that right away and have minimal impact on your final product.
Our group of builders consisted of programmers, managers, secretaries, instructors, and sales associates. Agile development allows all of us who had minimal experience working with cars to pick up some tools and build a car.
You can learn more about Joe Justice and Team WIKISPEED over at their official site here. Thanks to Red River College for putting on this awesome event.