Improvement Concepts
Agile in Automotive


Clearly focused on being innovative – through agility

Automotive development is on the verge of a transformation. Networked technology is here, alongside integrated mobility concepts and industry outsiders. The result: changes in more than just product requirements. The entire industry is undergoing change. Now, innovation requires two competences: the ability to make things happen quickly and the ability to permanently learn and adapt. You can achieve this with agile development departments.

Developing a market-ready product – just the right product at just the right time – is one of today’s major challenges. But at the same time, complexity is intensifying, so if you’re involved in automotive development, you need to ask yourself two fundamental questions:

  • How do I add value for my customers?
  • How do I deliver this value as quickly as possible in the market?

The answer to these questions lies in shifting value creation back to center stage. This involves redefining processes. To help with this, agile methods and principles adopted from lean methods can be used to move away from traditional process controls and focus instead on team-based principles.

Improvement Concepts

Conference Agile Automotive 2019

Together with Euroforum, we've been presenting the follow-up event of this successful conference.

Iteration #5 will take place in Frankfurt, Germany: September 2019. 

Agile, team-centric project control techniques

  • Scrum 
    Scrum provides a framework to react flexibly in volatile markets. The aim is to focus on customer benefits by avoiding unnecessary outlays and time investments. Development teams organize themselves within a structured framework in order to coordinate activities and work together closely for quick decision-making. By carefully defining roles and procedures, Automotive Scrum involves customers directly in the development process.
  • Kanban 
    To avoid stagnation or hold-ups, this on-demand planning technique pinpoints bottlenecks. Kanban works with existing roles and processes so it can be introduced within the company step by step, or by establishing pioneer teams. 

Scrum and Kanban mutually complement one another: Scrum ensures the company remains adaptable and agile, Kanban improves efficiency and throughput. Both techniques also enhance transparency within the company. 

Improvement Concepts
Fig.: Agile in Automotive at a glance

Integration of industry standards

Agile methods, in harmony with industry standards: We integrate agile development methods into existing processes, structures, procedures and standards, such as:

This allows your company to use agile methods to combine the required maturity levels with the ability to react flexibly to markets. 

Fit for the requirements of tomorrow

More and more companies are now turning to agile methods and practices like Scrum and Kanban, even in the automotive sector. But methods alone are not necessarily enough to win the race. Agility is more about a philosophy believed in by an organization that’s always learning. In a market environment dictated by disruption and change, customer requirements change quickly. 

Agility is a reflection of the organization

Agility is about the ability to

  • adapt continuously to new market requirements
  • focus clearly on customer benefits 

To ensure value creation remains center-stage in the future, the agile organization looks at the smallest individual unit: the creative team. Focusing on the team results in a new approach on an organizational level – centralized management control is replaced by self-guided teams. Every team and every person involved in the process shares responsibility for the success of the overall effort. 

Agile methods such as Scrum and Kanban are an effective way to build an organization that’s agile and always learning. Using iterative techniques, or sprints, concepts can be improved step by step and quickly tested for practical suitability. Using short sprint cycles results in quick delivery of necessary insights which can be discussed systematically.

From methods to mindset

Agile methods and practices are not something that can be switched to autopilot. Every customer requirement is different and markets are subject to change. So to adapt as necessary, agile methods provide the right level of flexibility. What is crucial here is achieving the right balance between the sometimes conflicting interests of adaptability and discipline.