The Business Times
This article originally appeared on The Business Times Singapore (subscription required).
When you think of John Deere, you probably picture old-school machines tilling soil in the heartland or mowing a suburban lawn. But you might be surprised to learn that this 179-year-old, Illinois-based manufacturer is using new-millennium tactics honed in Silicon Valley to accelerate innovation.
About six years ago, Deere's Global Technology Innovation Network (an internal team tasked with discovering potentially disruptive technology) started schooling its team on Agile methods in a bid to speed up its product development. Now the team can turn an idea into a working prototype in about eight months—a process that used to take a year and a half or more. We recently discussed Deere's use of Agile in more detail in a recent Bain Brief cowritten with our colleagues Darrell Rigby, Steve Berez and Andrew Noble.
Agile is old hat for IT executives, who have been applying its small-team approach and rapid feedback loops for more than 25 years, and for good reason. Agile methods have more than tripled average success rates in tens of thousands of software development projects. In large, complex projects, Agile's success rate jumps to six times that of conventional methods. And then there's the ultimate bonus: the Agile approach leads to higher satisfaction among both employees and customers. Now companies far beyond the tech industry are applying Agile methods to everything from marketing to corporate strategy.
Greg Caimi and Florian Hoppe are partners in Bain & Company and leaders in Bain's digital practice.