Part 2: Speeding to SAFe and developing IoT-enabled autos: a tsunami of change

By | 2 minute read | January 3, 2018

This year will see a continuation of the far-reaching transition that’s underway in the world of complex product engineering. To get you up to “speed” on IoT-enabled vehicles, I’ve written a four-part series.

Welcome back! Today is part 2 of my series highlighting the ways that  product engineering for IoT-enabled autos must adapt to new methodologies.

We’ve discussed how model-based systems engineering (MBSE) is transforming product development across the automotive and virtually every industry. Today we’ll look at another big transformation: the overall speed of engineering and subsequent product changes.

SAFe explained

Consumers want their vehicles to fit into their digital lives. That means updates at an Internet pace. That’s why the speed of development matters. Practices can be greatly improved through the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

SAFe relies on three main disciplines:

  • Agile software development that works through collaborative teams.
  • Lean product development that focuses on cost and cycle-time reductions.
  • Systems thinking that considers the functional interrelationship between various sub-systems as part of a larger system.
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Automotive companies are using SAFe to speed development processes.

Collaboration is key

Agile software development relies on collaborative teams being able to move faster. “Standup,” “scrum” and “sprint” meeting formats are the new normal. Developers use these practices to transform their procedures and cut time out of development cycles. It’s all aimed at keeping teams small and highly focused.

Collaboration software, like Team Concert, is the key. It coordinates dispersed teams around near-term achievable goals that drive the process ahead.

Lean development 2.0

Lean product development is not new; it’s an offshoot of lean manufacturing. Popularized by Toyota in the 1980s and 1990s, it focuses extensively on reusable knowledge. When teams drop the “not invented here” syndrome and leverage work that has already been completed, they can more rapidly introduce new product variants. Do lean and agile sound similar? Here’s a good comparison between the two.

Think like a system

Also front and center for automotive developers is the concept of systems thinking. The transportation infrastructure that vehicles must fit into is already complex. It’s becoming even more so as IoT-enabled autos proliferate. They will gather and respond to information from the cloud. Successfully developing autonomous cars adds even more complexity to the equation.

Systems thinking helps explain how multiple systems have co-dependencies and critical connection points. Those are important because they enable the coexistence of many different suppliers across an ecosystem.

Today’s automotive companies have their suppliers regularly integrate new capabilities every six weeks. They can only attain this through a highly structured process. And SAFe allows lean, agile teams to collaborate, align and deliver multi-functional software to complex systems.

IBM fully supports SAFe and enables its deployment through templates in its Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution. We provide extensive support in getting engineering teams started with SAFe.

Next, we’ll talk about the promise of cognitive systems, which is an exciting new frontier for automotive engineering.

In the meantime, to learn more about IBM’s suite of Continuous Engineering solutions, please visit our site. You can also talk to us at CES in Las Vegas or the Automotive News World Congress, January 16-17 in Detroit.

And for an even closer look at the impact Watson IoT is having in the development world, plan on attending Think 2018, March 19-22 in Las Vegas.