Hi Maria, hi Anna! At the moment, Volvo is among those few OEMs who are particularly enthusiastic about agility. Within Volvo, what is your contribution to this?
Maria: We are driving the full agile implementation cross product creation within Volvo Cars
Maria, at the Agile Automotive conference last year you have said: “Either we succeed [with the large-scale implementation of SAFe] or there will be soon one OEM less in Europe”. What is your impression, are you succeeding?
Maria: Of course we will! Not only because there is no alternative to stay relevant in the automotive future but also because we are doing it in an iterative manner where we try things out and are prepared to adjust when it’s not working the way we intended.
With the automotive market slowing down, change programs targeting i.a. culture-altering aspects have a tough job in organizations. Do you notice similar effects at Volvo? How do you deal with it?
Maria: We notice the automotive market slowing down, but it has no impact on our willingness going agile. We need of course adjust our ambitions somewhat, but this is kind of normal business to match changing business goals.
One major insight of the industry is that not team agility but business agility seems to be the ultimate goal, the ability to continuously and quickly adapt to an ever-changing environment as a whole organization. What experiences have you gained on this topic with Volvo?
Maria: Our goals are clearly to become fast and responsive. We aim for business agility. Having said that, we have still some way to go to onboard all.
You are this year’s keynote speakers, which exciting insights will you provide to the participants of the Agile Automotive conference?
Maria: If you want to be fast and responsive in an ever-changing and unknown automotive future, going agile across software, hardware, propulsions, procurement, quality etc. is the only way forward. The journey is tough, but staying current in old ways of working is clearly a dead end.
Information about the interviewees:
Maria Hansson is Director Product Creation & Operational Development and Change Leader Agile Transformation Vehicle Engineering at Volvo Cars.
Anna Sandberg is Senior Director Product Creation & Operation Development at Volvo Cars.
Information about the interviewer:
Sergej Weber is a Senior Consultant/Agile Coach at global automotive consultancy Kugler Maag Cie. Even after eight years in practice, he is a striving learner about all things Agile and is supporting leading German Tier-1 suppliers such as Bosch, Continental, and Hella with their agile implementation efforts.