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Presentation: The Development of a New Car at Toyota

In this presentation made during Agile 2008, Kenji Hiranabe talks about Toyota's development process of a new car. Kenji shares his experience meeting Nobuaki Katayama, Chief Engineer at Toyota, and the lessons he learned from him.

Watch: The Development of a New Car at Toyota (25 min)

Kenji met Nobuaki Katayama during Developers' Summit 2008 in Tokyo where Toyota's Chief Engineer kept a presentation about the process used in creating a new car. Nobuaki says there are three main phases in car development:

  1. Planning and Concept Development – Concept, style, market research, pre-development, cost and profit target.
  2. Real Car Development – Designing, prototyping, evaluation.
  3. Production and Sales - Entering into mass production and selling the car.

Nobuaki emphasizes the first phase, creating a good concept being the most important. A complete concept is created, then it is tested with dealers and possible customers around the country to see if the concept is well received. Then comes prototyping and production.

Nobuaki gives some advices useful in software development. One of them is honest communication. Another, face-to-face communication, or TV conference if face-to-face is not possible. Another is: "Don't complain. Cooperate", and is Toyota's DNA, according to Nobuaki.

Nobuaki also noted some differences between Agile methodologies and car manufacturing ones. For example, there is no room for repetition or iteration when making a car.

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