Agile organisations: efficient with a laser-like focus on customer value

Lean and Agile: a successful combination, starting with Toyota and in particular with the man who introduced the Agile methodology to the well-known Japanese company: Nigel Thurlow.

Nigel started his career at Toyota Motor Europe in 2005 and after moving to the US in 2011 he worked with the creators of the Scrum framework and key signatories of the Agile Manifesto, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. In 2015 he became the first Chief of Agile at Toyota and led the world's best Lean company in adopting Agile practices at Toyota Connected, a Toyota connected vehicle technology and services company. Prior to rejoining Toyota in 2015, Nigel successfully led organisational transformation at 3M Healthcare Information Systems by implementing Scrum and other Agile techniques. In addition to this, he has trained many people within major companies such as General Electric, Bose, Microsoft, the State of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Over the past 30 years, Lean Manufacturing has made a significant contribution to the success of industry. By improving the quality of products and services, reducing waste and shortening lead times, it has ensured greater competitiveness for companies that have followed Lean principles.

Now we are in 2021 and to manage the current complexity a new need arises: the ability to respond quickly to customer demands or, even better, become a player in new markets. Through the application of Agile, companies not only maintain their focus on customer value, but also adapt faster and respond more promptly to market demands, being able to identify new trends in advance.

For the first time in Italy, Nigel Thurlow spoke at the CUOA Business School Lean Day "Lean and Agile: the era of the dual enterprise" and as part of the course "Bringing agility to lean: the Toyota Way". An original initiative that brought together the disciplines of Lean and Agile in a unique way. Nigel Thurlow introduced a truly dynamic methodology to the CUOA: we saw our students playing and having fun with him, we saw a great generosity in transferring the concepts developed in years of application in the field: they learned how Toyota implemented Scrum and how to apply the concepts of systems thinking. They gained a deep understanding of the Toyota Production System and how Toyota's DNA is deeply intertwined with Scrum and Agile. They are now able to apply the Scrum framework and other Agile techniques in their own company.

At the end of the course, the participants obtained the internationally valid Scrum The Toyota Way Training Certificate. These are some of the testimonials collected during the course:

Vittorio Dionisi, owner of Hello Vacanze and student of the Lean Master at CUOA: "Honestly, this is the first time I have attended a course of this kind. Nigel was really very engaging, detailed and extremely clear. He is absolutely unique!"

Alessandro Castiglioni, Lean Engineer at Pietro Fiorentini SpA: "Agile already includes the principles of Lean in its DNA. Applying both of these approaches allows us to bring innovation or 'small value packages' to the customer, along with waste reduction and continuous process improvement."

Raffaella Novello, PMO Manager at Xylem Inc: "The most important take-away that remains for me from this experience is that the Agile methodology must be spread as widely as possible within the company population. The more people who know about it, the more people will want to get involved and use it. It cannot be limited to a single person or be confined to the management level.