Agile for Automotive Development: Guide & Best Practices
It is no secret that the automotive industry is one of the most competitive and fast-paced industries in the world. In order to keep up with the ever-changing demands of consumers, manufacturers must employ a manufacturing strategy that can keep up. Agile manufacturing may be the answer. This approach has been used in other industries with great success, and there is no reason to believe that it would not work just as well in automotive development. In this guide, we will discuss what agile is, how it works, and some of the best practices for using it in automotive production.
Agile in Automotive
Agile is a methodology that values people and collaboration over processes and tools. Agile focuses on delivering working software to customers as quickly as possible while still maintaining high standards of quality. In order to do this, agile teams work in short cycles, or sprints, which allows them to rapidly adapt to changes and deliver value throughout the product development process.
Many companies in the manufacturing industry, not just ones in the automotive sector, have been agile for a while now. Waterfall management is being abandoned in favor of iterative processes that are inherent to agile project management. With this new focus comes frequent delivery in smaller batches as well as adaptability, team collaboration, and customer collaboration. Many companies use different types of agile methodologies like Kanban or Scrum; some might even use SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework).
Benefits of Using Agile for Automotive Development
There are many benefits that come with using agile in automotive development. Agile is known for its ability to help organizations adapt to change quickly and efficiently. This is a result of the iterative nature of agile, which allows teams to make changes as they go. Additionally, agile emphasizes collaboration between team members, which helps to create a more cohesive and effective team. And finally, agile methodology puts the customer first, which helps ensure that the final product meets their needs and expectations.
Point 1. Customers are more likely to buy something from you if they like your work and have a positive experience. Today’s automobile customers want cars that are comfortable, perform well, and offer connectivity. It is up to auto manufacturers to figure out how to satisfy these demands while also properly comprehending what potential buyers value and why they make purchases. Customer collaboration and feedback loops help create higher-quality products.
Because agile auto companies gather feedback early in the product development process and are willing to change direction based on market forces, they are more likely to create a product that consumers want. Additionally, using prototypes and MVPs allows for the validation of assumptions about customer needs and leads to increased product quality overall.
Point 2. Cross-functional teams working together toward the same goal can communicate more efficiently, reducing the number of overall hand-offs. As a result, this team model gets their product to market quicker and with fewer errors. In fact, statistics show that reorganizing employees into agile, product-focused teams can accelerate development cycles by 40 percent and improve engineering capital efficiency by 25 percent.
Not only that, but cross-functional teams have much better alignment. This subsequently results in optimized coordination. With cutting-edge artificial intelligence and software now being incorporated into vehicles, it’s paramount that mechanics, software designers, and leading-edge engineers work together as one team to address the complexity of these new systems. Furthermore, having a diverse range of experts on one team often leads to brand-new innovative ideas as well as effective use of existing functionalities – both key factors in staying ahead computationally.
Point 3. Today’s automobiles are more software-driven than hardware-driven. In reality, according to McKinsey, the software will account for more than 30% of the total vehicle content by the middle of the 2020s. It simply follows that automotive firms must be prepared to develop a lot of new software in a short period of time, which is why agile project management makes such a good framework for changing R&D operations from structured to flexible and adaptive.
R&D teams can work in iterative bursts that enable tiny changes and the detection of weak spots in the work process by having agility characteristics such as transparency, a focus on shared ownership of projects, and continuous improvement. Agile teams may also integrate feedback loops to concentrate on continuous improvement and improve their product’s chances of success. R&D departments can decrease project risk while increasing customer satisfaction after going through an agile transformation.
Principles of Agile
The Agile Manifesto outlines four key principles that all agile teams should abide by:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change by following a plan
These four principles guide how agile teams work together to produce working software. Agile teams are typically composed of cross-functional members who work together to complete a set of deliverables within a sprint. Sprints are time-boxed, meaning that they have a start date and an end date, and teams should not add new work to a sprint once it has begun.
During each sprint, agile teams hold daily stand-up meetings, or scrums, to discuss what work was completed the previous day, what work will be completed today, and any impediments that are blocking progress. At the end of each sprint, teams demo their working software to stakeholders and gather feedback that can be used to improve the product in future sprints.
How does Agile For Automotive Development Work?
There are two different types of agile manufacturing for the automotive industry. They include EVs (Electric Vehicles) and AVs (Autonomous Vehicles).
- Agile Manufacturing for EVs – Even though EVs have been around for a long time, designing print circuit boards (PCBs) and electronics for EV systems that require more power and operate at higher voltage levels than combustion vehicles cannot be considered standard development requirements yet. So, if you want to get into this area of product development, you may need to modify your manufacturing process. The ability to do so will allow you to match more seasoned developers, be prepared for future technology advancements and new rules, and react swiftly to other changes.
- Agile Manufacturing for AVs – In contrast to EVs, AVs are still in the research and development phase, despite the fact that many of the technologies needed to develop a completely autonomous or driverless car have already been implemented. The early stage of the AV industry’s market segment offers opportunities for PCB and electronics manufacturers to establish themselves within the supply chain for components that will define future AV standard capabilities. This will necessitate a flexible production approach to meet the challenges of developing new systems as they are being developed.
Best Practices to Implement Agile For Automotive Development
There are a few best practices that should be followed when implementing agile in automotive development:
- Agile teams should be cross-functional and composed of members with the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the project.
- Sprints should be time-boxed, meaning that they have a start date and an end date, and teams should not add new work to a sprint once it has begun.
- Agile teams should hold daily stand-up meetings, or scrums, to discuss what work was completed the previous day, what work will be completed today, and any impediments that are blocking progress.
At the end of each sprint, teams demo their working software to stakeholders and gather feedback that can be used to improve the product in future sprints.
Visure Requirements ALM Platform
Visure is one of the most trusted modern ALM platforms that specialize in requirements management for organizations of all sizes across the globe. Visure is one of the best automotive requirements management tools in the market. The company integrates through the whole ALM processes including risk management, issue and defect tracking, traceability management, change management, and various other areas like quality analysis, requirements versioning, and powerful reporting. Visure’s major clients from the automotive industry include Audi, Honda, Bosch, Saab, and Husqvarna.
Visure’s top features include:
- Standards & Compliances – Visure helps with compliance with various important standards of the automotive industry including ISO-26262, and ISO 21434. Moreover, Visure also supports ASPICE compliance, CMMI, and FMEA as well.
- Traceability – Visure also helps you in maintaining full traceability between your system and all the software requirements, risks, tests, and other artifacts. Furthermore, Visure assists you in generating full traceability reports as well.
- Data Models – Visure supports many development processes like Agile, V-model, etc. At Visure, we ensure to analyze the specific problems that are inherent in business models and provide a solutional data model for each specific need. These data models are customizable to relate to the client’s internal processes and can be enforced as required.
- Multi-tier Collaboration – Visure supports XML-based standards, like ReqIF and XRI, that help you in exchanging requirements between various different customers and suppliers.
- Security – Visure ensures proper security of information and requirements. The tool does this through its rigorous access policy where only certain people can access the artifacts even at the elementary level.
- Quality Analysis – Visure’s Quality Analyzer allows you to perform a semantic analysis of the requirements to identify the quality of the requirements. Therefore, if the requirements are low quality, the tool will automatically flag them with ambiguity or inconsistencies.
- Version Control – Visure supports robust versioning control which allows you to completely re-trace all the versions of requirements in the project. It is an essential feature for any company as it helps the development team keep track of all the changes that are made over time.
The Agile methodology has brought about a lot of change in the automotive industry, most notably in terms of faster product delivery to customers. Its benefits are now being recognized by more and more companies, who are looking to implement it and enjoy its advantages. If you’re curious to learn more about how Agile works in the automotive industry or want to try it out for yourself, we suggest you check out Visure Requirements ALM Platform. This tool offers everything you need to get started with Agile, from tutorials and templates to best practices and support from experts. Plus, there’s a free 30-day trial so you can explore all that it has to offer without any commitment.