EXtreme Manufacturing

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eXtreme Manufacturing (XM) is an iterative and incremental development framework, inspired by Scrum and Kanban (かんばん(看板)?) that features principles of Modular Design, BDD and TDD. The name was coined in 2012 after Extreme Programming (XP) software development by Joe Justice, founder of Wikispeed, and Marcin Jakubowski, founder of Open Source Ecology.[1] This framework, popularized by Joe Justice and J.J. Sutherland, has a rich history with origins that predate the early implementations of Agile software development and exemplify the Japanese Kaizen (改善?) culture.



XM has its origins in the intersection between several fields of study, namely Agile Project Management, Engineering (e.g. Mechanical, Materials, etc.), and Knowledge Management.

In 1986, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka wrote the seminal work for Scrum: "New New Product Development Game"[2] This work challenged the business community to adopt a more holistic approach toward achieving goals. Now scrum is considered a best practice in project management.

As Takeuchi and Nonaka progressed in their careers they continued to collaborate and wrote "The Knowledge Creating Company".[3] XM leverages what Takeuchi and Nonaka call in the most powerful learning: "In fact, the most powerful learning comes from direct experience." Moreover, "managers in Japan emphasize the importance of learning from direct experience."[3]


In 2008, Joe Justice entered the Automotive X Prize, and achieved with XM what Fortune Magazine called the "seemingly impossible;" he and his team developed a functional prototype of an ultra-efficient automobile in three months time.[4] Even more remarkably the 100 mpg car has an impressive 0-60: < 5 seconds [1].[5]

A number of prototype cars have been developed by separate companies using the XM process.

Companies use XM as a way to challenge their employees to develop new skills and learn the power of teamwork to solve complex problems. For example, Lockheed Martin (Sunnyvale, CA) challenged 200 of its engineers to build a 100 mpg car in a single day; the challenge was met and the team's car was sold for $25,000.[6] Another such example is opensourceecology.org,[7] whose Global Village Construction Set is developing and building affordable industrial machines, and publishing the designs on-line for free.[8]

Getting Started at Agile DC 2013.
The XM Scrum Master in action.
Team Wikispeed and Agile DC conference attendees celebrating success.


XM uses a prioritized product backlog as the primary work input queue. Work is visualized in an open area generally on a single team Kanban Board. Every XM team has a Scrum Master and also a Product Owner, who together with the team help to ensure that Agile/Lean principles are followed.

The Scrum Master in XM must focus on ensuring that the Agile Principles [9] are followed. In XM the Scrum Master has some critical responsibilities:

  1. Communicate with the Product Owner
  2. Identify and Remove Impediments
  3. Ensure TDD principles are followed
  4. Manage team WIP limits (this may vary with team size)

The Product Owner represents the customer and provides the overall vision and must serve as the product expert.

The Agile Software Development Actors found in Agile and Scrum are present in XM. XM does not require, but does encourage TDD. Ideally, XM should adhere to the 10 Principles of XM outlined by Peter Stevens ([2]):

  1. Optimize for change
  2. Object-oriented, Modular Architecture
  3. Test Driven Development (Red, Green, Refactor)
  4. Contract-First Design
  5. Iterate the Design
  6. Agile Hardware Design Patterns
  7. Continuous integration Development
  8. Continuous Deployment Development
  9. Scaling Patterns
  10. Partner Patterns

According to Peter "These principles and patterns do not represent the final wisdom on Agile manufacturing, but rather a work-in-progress, on the discovery of better ways to manufacture things."[10]


  1. ^ Tincq, Benjamin. "From Henry Ford to Joe Justice : WikiSpeed, Manufacturing in the Age of Open Collaboration". Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "New New Product Development Game". Harvard Business Review 86116:137–146, 1986. January 1, 1986. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b The Knowledge Creating Company. Oxford University Press. 1995. p. 3. ISBN 9780199762330. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Hagel and Brown. "how-companies ought to train their staffers". CNN. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Denning, Steve. "wikispeed how a 100 mpg car was developed in 3 months". Forbes. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Louie, David. "Lockheed Martin challenges engineers to build a car in 1 day". KGO-TV (ABC News). Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Jakubowski, Marcin. "Open Source Ecology". Retrieved 2/1/2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Civilization_Starter_Kit_DVD_v0.01
  9. ^ "Principles behind the Agile Manifesto". Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Stevens, Peter. "Extreme Manufacturing Explained". Retrieved 15 November 2013.