Large scale agility helping the automotive industry gain speed

February 13th, 2020

The challenge a lot of car manufacturers are facing right now, e.g. when it comes to mobility and electrification, is the speed and scale of developments taking place in the automotive industry. This is further compounded by the fact that additional market developments will arise in the midst of their ongoing development work, thereby disrupting their plans even more. To circumvent this problem the automotive industry needs to learn how to apply large scale agility.

So, what is large scale agility?

Agility focuses on being able to adapt and respond to changes, while continuing to deliver maximum business value to your customers at all times. And it’s an essential survival tool for most software companies and organizations in today’s hyper-paced world. Now we need to bring it to the automotive industry, where rapid developments are currently reshaping the entire industry.

A number of the car manufacturers we work with, such as Volvo and Volkswagen, have already started to rely on large scale agility to help them stay ahead of the constant developments in all areas of their work. But it’s important to remember that agility doesn’t just help you to stay ahead of developments, it also enables you to capitalize on the wide range of emerging opportunities for new business solutions.

Creating common value streams in the automotive industry through large scale agility

It’s one thing to be agile in your way of working. But you can only really begin to reap the benefits when you apply agility to all areas of your business. This includes the way each team works at a more general level, how the business is organized and operates, and how you approach your actual core business. For example, the way you structure your design and production processes. But most importantly, it means looking at seemingly separate elements as a whole - with the sole purpose of creating long term value.

What are value streams?

The term value stream is indicative of the fact that you are organizing and structuring your work around the long term customer value being created. This is only possible when everyone who is needed for that particular aspect of development is part of the team, ensuring access to the requisite skills and support that will enable everyone to deliver maximum value at all times.

Scaling agile helps the automotive industry gain speed

Through agility, your teams will be able to act quickly and efficiently, which ultimately means they are more likely to reach their, and your, goals on time.

Large scale agility helping the automotive industry gain speed

When you have begun establishing your agile teams and value streams, that’s when everyone can start working together towards shared goals that focus on providing long term value, rather than short term solutions.

Common value streams are all about working together, analyzing together and adapting together throughout the entire process in order to deliver the best possible solution. And the best possible value.

We’re constantly learning from our customers and from their experiences of working in agile teams

Many organizations, across all industries, try to deal with multiple individual challenges independently, without really looking at the bigger picture. And unfortunately, when you try to resolve a problem in one area without taking the related areas into account, you’re probably just going to end up relocating the problem. In other words, if you restructure your organization, it’s going to affect your production processes and vice versa. Which might explain why so many organizations in the automotive industry are scrambling to introduce agility on a large scale.

After 20 years of digitizing the automotive industry, we’re still finding new ways to help our customers really capitalize on the extraordinary power of technology. And it’s not just about advising customers or helping them to understand the concept or benefits of large scale agility. We truly thrive on seeing our customers reap the benefits of this way of working and prefer to guide them through the process, side by side, rather than just handing over a list of instructions and hoping everything works out.

How to succeed with large scale agility

Success with scaled agility depends on a few core principles, in our experience. Here’s my advice for anyone just getting started with large scale agility:

  • Get everyone focused on the true end user value we are creating. This softens the often rigid departmental boundaries found in the automotive industry and introduces instead a common language and set of goals.
  • Take joint ownership of all aspects of development, including architecture, i.e. your way of working, and organizational structure. Trying to resolve problems in one area without understanding the others is rarely successful.
  • Make people feel safe. Implementing scaled agile methods will require a lot of change from everyone in the organization. Explain to each individual how it will empower them, but also that it is okay to make mistakes during the transformation process. 

One foot in the traditional automotive industry and one foot in the exciting new world of mobility and electrification

We are in a unique position to help car manufacturers take those steps. We know how to get things done in the complex world in which they operate, and we are more than familiar with the challenges they face. We know this because we’ve got one foot in the traditional automotive industry, thanks to our dedicated automotive heritage, and one foot firmly placed in the exciting, fast-paced world of mobility, electrification and multi-cloud digital services.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading my article on large scale agility, and perhaps it has even clarified a few things up for you. If so, you may be interested in these other articles on the WirelessCar blog: Connected fleet management unlocks the business potential of shared mobility and How does edge computing benefit connected cars?

If you would like to know more about large scale agility and how we can help you stay ahead of the rapid developments taking place in the automotive industry, please don’t hesitate to contact me at niklas.floren@wirelesscar.com or visit our website for more information.