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InfoQ Homepage Presentations The Development of a New Car at Toyota

The Development of a New Car at Toyota



Kenji Hiranabe talks about Toyota's development process of a new car. Kenji shares his experience meeting Nobuaki Katayama, former Chief Engineer at Toyota, and the lessons he learned from him.


Kenji Hiranabe is CEO of Change Vision, Inc., a practitioner of Agile development and a Japanese translator of Agile books. Kenji thinks of software development as a form of communication game, and is always searching for better ways that makes it more productive, collaborative, and fun.

About the conference

Agile 2008 is an exciting international industry conference that presents the latest techniques, technologies, attitudes and first-hand experience, from both a management and development perspective, for successful Agile software development.

Recorded at:

Aug 13, 2008

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Community comments

  • Toyota not the only way.

    by Zubin Wadia,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    It's interesting how the CE prefers to have a non-Charismatic leader for teams. That was about the only surprise. The 'Toyota Way' is usually always the focus, but I would be surprised if every Japanese car manufacturer shared these values and perception of leadership.

    Honda, for example, probably has a different value system - it seems that passion & charisma are positive aspects in that system. Take Formula 1 for example - both manufacturers have had long stints but Honda clearly has the edge when it comes to World Championships and race wins (5 championships, 71 wins as an engine supplier, 3 Factory wins).

    Toyota, if I remember correctly, has yet to register a race win in 116 attempts with a yearly budget rumored to be in the $200-600M zone. More alarmingly, Toyota hasn't shown itself to be particularly accepting of their F1 shortcomings, neither are they taking any calculated risks. They have repeated, refined and spiraled-up to nowhere. ;)

    So, the question that sprung up in my mind is the following:

    In a system that has a low tolerance for passion & charisma, can adversity & chaos be easily overcome when encountered? Or would a company that encourages passion & charisma respond & overcome those challenges better?

    It is no surprise to me that while GM/Toyota/Ford saw U.S. domestic sales slump, Honda somehow conjured up a sales gain in the first seven months of 2008 (source: Reuters).

    Must have been some charismatic leader who spurred them on.


    Zubin Wadia


    "Business Acceleration through Process Automation."

  • Re: Toyota not the only way.

    by Tero Vaananen,

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    I think what ever you do, you always have to have a sense of balance. Charisma and passion can be good things but they can also take you to a very bad place if you can not sit back and see the big picture in a calm and calculative manner.

    I can understand why a more subdued and calm leader would be preferred in most situations. They can be wrong as anyone else, but it can be usually caught before things really go wrong. Charismatic leaders can be much harder to keep in check, as they usually carry so much unchallenged support by their own virtue that some natural feedback loops do not exist to correct failures in judgment.

  • ?

    by elzo valugi,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I don't remember since I saw such a bad presentation. We all know how to read, the fellow was an extra... he should stayed mute.

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