How Agile Methodologies Help Automotive Startups Accelerate Hardware Development

How Agile Methodologies Help Automotive Startups Accelerate Hardware Development

Agile Development Methodologies for Automotive Hardware Industry

The automotive industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and advancements in hardware and software. Keeping up with these changes can be challenging, especially when it comes to product development.

One approach that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the use of agile development methodologies. 

Agile development offers a number of benefits that make it well-suited for the automotive industry, including the ability to adapt to change and a focus on collaboration and communication.

Benefits of Agile Development for Hardware and Software

Agile development is particularly well-suited for the automotive industry because it allows teams to adapt to change.

Automotive projects often involve a high degree of uncertainty, with requirements and specifications changing as the project progresses.

Agile allows teams to quickly respond to these changes and make adjustments as needed, which can help to keep the project on track and avoid costly delays.

Another key benefit of agile is the focus on collaboration and communication. Agile development encourages cross-functional teams to work together closely, with regular check-ins and feedback loops to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

This can help to break down silos and improve communication between different departments and stakeholders, which is critical in the automotive industry where projects can involve multiple partners and suppliers.

Agile Software Development for Automotive Hardware

Software development plays a critical role in automotive product development, with many systems relying on sophisticated software to control and monitor various functions.

Agile software development methodologies, such as Scrum, provide a framework for managing the software development process and delivering software incrementally.

This allows teams to get feedback and make adjustments early on in the process, rather than waiting until the end of the project to discover that the software doesn’t meet the needs of the stakeholders.

Real World Cases of Automotive Companies Using Agile: Volta Trucks & Tesla

While agile software development has been widely adopted in the automotive industry, hardware development has been slower to adopt agile methodologies.

However, the principles of agile development can still be applied to hardware development, using techniques such as:

  • Design Thinking
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Incremental delivery of hardware

In fact, at the engineering conference Iteration22, there were many examples from the keynote speakers of how the agile method was used in the development approach with great effect.

In the presentation by Ben Anstey, the director of electrical systems at European electric vehicle Startup Volta Trucks, Ben explores the approaches taken by the fledgling company. 

These methods have allowed them to have working and licensed prototypes of their revolutionary logistic trucks on the streets of London within two years of founding the company.

Watch this video:

The video is a must watch for any founders of automotive startups looking to see how agile approaches are done in the real world. Ben mentions:

  • The engineering approach
  • Agile or waterfall project timing
  • Tools and software (like Valispace, which Volta Trucks use)
  • People and culture

Integrating Hardware and Software Development

One of the biggest challenges in the automotive industry is the need to integrate hardware and software development.

Agile development methodologies can help to bridge this gap by promoting collaboration and communication between hardware and software teams.

This can be achieved by using tools such as Kanban boards and sprint planning to ensure that both hardware and software development are aligned and progressing in parallel.

Remote Engineering Project Management: Best Tools for Streamlining Communication and Cooperation

The Development Cycle

In an agile development process, the development cycle is broken down into smaller chunks, known as iterations or sprints.

Each sprint is typically 2-4 weeks long and includes a planning phase, an execution phase, and a review phase. During the planning phase, the team will identify the tasks that need to be completed during the sprint.

During the execution phase, the team will work on completing those tasks. And during the review phase, the team will review the work that was completed and identify any areas for improvement.

Cross-Functional Teams

Cross-functional teams are an essential part of agile development methodologies, and they are particularly important in the automotive hardware industry.

Automotive products involve a complex interplay between hardware and software components, and a cross-functional team ensures that all aspects of the product are considered and integrated.

This includes hardware engineers, software developers, project managers, and other team members working together to deliver a product that meets the needs of the customer.

One of the most important benefits of agile development methodologies is the ability to deliver a working product incrementally. This is particularly important in the automotive hardware industry, where the development cycle can be long and complex.

By delivering a working product incrementally, the team can receive feedback and make adjustments early on in the process, rather than waiting until the end of the project to discover that the product doesn’t meet the needs of the stakeholders.

Which Agile tool is Best for Complex Hardware Development in Automotive?

Valispace is a powerful tool that can help automotive hardware teams to apply agile development methodologies. It allows teams to manage the entire development process, from requirements gathering to system modeling, in one central platform.

For most automotive engineering projects though, the most helpful feature unique to the software relates to the ability to connect requirements to engineering data.

This feature allows teams to ensure that all requirements are linked to engineering values and that any numerical data can be read and analyzed as such, rather than as flat text data.

This means that if any changes are made to your system, Valispace can automatically calculate whether this violates any of your project requirements.

Less work for your engineers, smarter insights for your project managers!

Valispace also allows for easy collaboration and communication between cross-functional team members, making it easy for everyone to stay on the same page.

If you are interested in applying agile development methodologies in your automotive hardware project, we recommend that you book a call with us to assess the suitability of our platform for your project.

We can also discuss any bespoke needs you might have and help you tailor our platform to your specific requirements.

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