Agile is nothing new for anyone who does software. I see it moving into the hardware world more and more as well. It's a great idea, but takes a lot of leaps of faith on the part of the team involved (and an even bigger leap from the upper management). With the story above, the amazing part isn't necessarily that this new methodology worked...it's that it was accepted immediately once the team decided upon it. That kind of sea change can cause a lot of turmoil in a company.
I love the recommended practices listed at the end of the story. Especially the part that says: ĽAsk questions. Take notes. Ask question of fact, not opinion, then shut up. Take notes. Tag data and quotes."
A critical part of boosting U.S. innovation is finding ways, as lean startup Steve Blank says, to help startups NOT fail. Blank and Frank Robinson have figured out that startups need to get out of the office and meet with as many potential customers as they can find. In a startup course at Stanford, Blank makes student entrepreneurs meet with at least 100 customers. This is one way we can get our edge back in the global tech competition.