Scrum is an Agile framework for product development that has been widely adopted in software development. It is now becoming increasingly popular in hardware development as well.
The Scrum framework is designed to help teams work together to deliver products that meet customer needs in a timely and efficient manner. Key concepts of Scrum include the product backlog, sprints, and the scrum master.
In Scrum, the product backlog is a prioritized list of items that need to be developed. The team works on the items at the top of the backlog during each sprint, which is a fixed period of time (usually two to four weeks) during which a potentially releasable product increment is created.
The scrum master is responsible for ensuring that the team follows the Scrum framework and removing any obstacles that may impede progress.
One of the biggest advantages of using Scrum for hardware development is the ability to respond quickly to changing customer needs.
The iterative and incremental nature of Scrum allows teams to make adjustments and improve their product as they go, rather than waiting until the end of a long development cycle to make changes.
This can significantly reduce lead time and improve the chances of creating a successful hardware product.
Challenges in Adapting Scrum for Hardware Development
While Scrum has been widely adopted in software development, hardware development presents unique challenges that must be addressed when using the framework.
One of the biggest challenges is dealing with dependencies between hardware and software components. In hardware development, a change in one area of the product can have ripple effects throughout the entire development process, making it difficult to deliver a working product increment at the end of each sprint.
Whilst Scrum is easier to adopt in smaller and looser Startup style companies, it can be difficult for larger organizations to adopt agile practices such as Scrum due to multiple factors such as the ingrained way of working that these bigger companies find hard to shake off.
Best Practices to Adopt for Scrum & Agile Principles
To overcome these challenges, hardware development teams must adapt the Scrum framework to their specific needs.
One best practice is to break down hardware development into smaller sub-teams, each working on a specific aspect of the product. For example, one team may focus on hardware design while another team focuses on software development.
This allows teams to work more independently and reduces the impact of dependencies between hardware and software components.
Another best practice is to use a tool that allows teams to link real-time requirements and the system model, such as Valispace.
Valispace helps teams to identify and resolve issues early in the development process, preventing them from becoming bigger problems later on.
Valispace is a tool that is specifically designed for hardware development and it addresses all the challenges mentioned above.
It allows teams to break down their hardware development into smaller sub-teams and work independently while still being able to see the bigger picture and identify dependencies between different components.
Scrum at SpaceX
The agile program manager at SpaceX, Joe Justice, has been one of the main proponents for spreading the benefits of agile for hardware over the last decade and has helped StartUps adopt the eXtreme manufacturing approach to building complex products.
eXtreme Manufacturing is all about engineering and product development at super speed. Watch this video where Joe Justice explains the concept (skip forward to minute 57 to hear specifically about Scrum teams)
Valispace: A tool for Scrum hardware development
Valispace is a tool that is specifically designed for hardware development and it addresses all the challenges mentioned above. It allows teams to break down their hardware development into smaller sub-teams and work independently while still being able to see the bigger picture and identify dependencies between different components.
It also allows teams to link real-time requirements and the system model, helping them to identify and resolve issues early in the development process and make it easier for new product iterations.
Valispace also offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for teams to navigate and collaborate on the hardware product. This is essential in Scrum hardware development where different sub-teams are working on different aspects of the product. With Valispace, teams can easily share information, provide feedback, and make changes to the product in real-time.
Using Valispace in your project
To get the most out of Valispace for your hardware development project, it is important to first assess the suitability of the tool for your specific needs. This can be done by booking a call with Valispace to discuss your project and any bespoke needs that you may have.
Once you have determined that Valispace is the right tool for your project, the next step is to set up your project in the software. This includes creating a system model of your hardware product, including all of its components, interfaces, and functionality. Teams can also use Valispace to create a prototype of their product, which can be used for testing and validation.
As the development process progresses, teams can use Valispace to track progress, identify and resolve issues, and plan for upcoming sprints. The tool also includes a retrospective feature, allowing teams to review their progress and make improvements for the next sprint.
How to take the maximum out of Scrum
Scrum is an effective framework for hardware development that allows teams to respond quickly to changing customer needs and improve their product iteratively. However, hardware development presents unique challenges that must be addressed when using the framework.
One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to use a tool like Valispace, which is specifically designed for hardware development and addresses the unique challenges of the development process.
If you are interested in using Scrum in your hardware development project, we encourage you to book a call with Valispace to discuss your specific needs and how the tool can be used to improve your development process.