Or why I wanted to invite Ferrari to Agilia Conference.
Since 2010 we organize Agilia Conference. Our original attempt was to inspire and convince people to make their organizations more Agile. Why is it important? Many of you have following experience – project has failed, customers are dissatisfied or even lost, enormous amount of resources has been wasted and people are stressed. And management starts searching for whom to blame. If I look closer for the reasons of failure, I can make interesting observations. It is not process responsible for the trouble. It is often also not complexity, which became ultimately good excuse, and which is for sure contributing factor. In most situations I could observe, it was disengagement of people from their work. Simply nobody cares. It is particularly strong in Czech and Slovakia, where culture of assembly workshops penetrated deeply entire society including IT.
However, we have good examples of companies in history or other industries, where culture determined achievements. These were driven by few individuals, or by strong culture, or by both. It could be Google, Apple, Semco or Bata – to name a few. I am constantly looking for examples of companies, which intentionally, or mostly unintentionally, shows items of agile culture. Companies, where people are mostly engaged and motivated to do their job with full immersion, and where one can see extraordinary results, which changes the world. However, as technical engineer, I was looking for examples that shows more-less consistently extraordinary achievements over decades. And I found Ferrari.
What is a difference between leader and follower?
When I have visited Maranello, I was impressed. Once you enter the town, you cannot be in doubt, that this is the home of Ferrari. Sport cars rides the streets and car factory dominates the city. Factory, which attempts to create most unique place to work, through alignment of machinery and noisy production lines with nature. Buildings are designed by world’s most renowned architects. Once you walk the town, beautifully maintained and filled with history of Italian countryside, it cannot be unnoticed that every single restaurant holds at least some insignia of Ferrari. Statue of Ferrari car stands in the town’s park, there are buildings given to the town and sponsored by factory there, too.
In factory museum there is not display of great car collection there only. Exposition shows the evolution of car sport industry and the role of Ferrari in it. There is long list of innovations and inventions proudly given by Ferrari to the car industry. But Ferrari – it is above all racing. From very beginning, they focused to build supercars, while building of ordinary cars they left to others. And in their entire history they are best in it. Innovations comes from Formula 1 research and then are adapted for sport cars.
During the Formula 1 race, one can follow the race in town’s cinema. Video streams goes here from team cameras so people can watch all aspects of team work, and enjoy the atmosphere of the race. Because victory in the race means victory of local people, who either celebrates or are sad.
For us in Czech I need to mention Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari of historical Ferrari cars in Modena, built right at the place, where once was first Ferrari workshop. The workshop was renovated and expanded by large modern structure with yellow roof, designed by famous Czech architect Jan Kaplicky. While in Czech his life work is almost unknown, and his only attempt to build library ended up in disgusting controversy. In Modena, there is a plaque on the museum wall, where visitors can read why Kaplicky is the best and why he was chosen to build museum.
Not far from the Modena lies small town Sant’agata Bolognese, home of Lamborghini. Once you walk the streets of Santa Agata, and you are not fan of automobiles, you will hardly realize this is home of Lamborghini. Factory is smaller, bit aside the town. I could see no symbiosis between factory and the town. You can also here visit factory. But my impression was less enthusiastic. „We also build cars“ I learned here.
It is different, if business is driven by vision and heart of individuals, or by P&L statements and corporate technocracy. Every successful business must have impact on its surroundings. Alongside serving its customers, it also shape the place and lives of people where it is based or founded!
How it all does relates with Agile?
If we want to achieve extraordinary result, it is typically not a work of single individual. The rise of knowledge worker class and increasing complexity of business environment demands more than ever collaboration, even across many fields of expertise, intensive communication, rapid feedback and design enabling to change. This requires strong culture, based on values, which everyone in organization understands and follows. This is what Agile is about.
While some tries to build Agile company, there are agile companies in the world without even knowing it. And we all can learn from their example. It is all about vision, strong motivation, attitude, knowledge, hard work, perseverance and pride. And it is all, what is missing in today’s IT industry.
After three years of attempts, we are finally able to present this unique learning opportunity at Agilia Conference.
About author: Michal Vallo helps companies deploy agile techniques and improve performance. He is agile trainer, coach and manager at Aguarra, founding member of Agilia community and organizer of Agilia Conference in Brno and Agilia Budapest Conference.
Article is based on perception of author from the site. He is not expert on car industry and there may be inaccuracies in his view.