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Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash by Tom Poppendieck, Mary Poppendieck

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Chapter 1. History

Interchangeable Parts

Paris, France, July 1785. It was 18 months after the end of the Revolutionary War in America, and four years before the start of the French Revolution. The need for weapons was on everyone’s mind when Honoré Blanc invited high-ranking military men and diplomats to his gunsmith shop in Paris. He had taken apart 50 firing mechanisms (called “locks”) and placed the pieces in boxes. The astonished visitors took random parts from the bins, assembled them into locks, and added them to muskets. They found that the parts fit together perfectly. For the first time it seemed possible to make guns out of interchangeable parts.

Thomas Jefferson, a diplomat in Paris at the time, was at the demonstration. The future ...

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