Realizing that disconnected development processes were hindering innovation, Mahindra & Mahindra revolutionized its management of the product development lifecycle, accelerating speed to market.
In a rapidly evolving market, Mahindra & Mahindra’s automotive division must innovate efficiently in order to build the safe, comfortable, connected vehicles that today’s consumers demand.
The automotive division has deployed an end-to-end collaborative lifecycle management solution that provides seamless traceability from requirements to delivery, and provides instant impact analysis.
India’s automotive industry is going through a period of both rapid growth and increasing competition. To outperform its rivals, Mahindra & Mahindra’s automotive division needs to find new ways to satisfy consumer demand for increasingly innovative and sophisticated vehicles.
Sriniwas A, Senior Vice President, Head – Product Development at Mahindra & Mahindra, explains: “As an automotive manufacturer today, it is not enough to deliver the best-looking car, the most powerful engine or the most robust chassis. Customers expect more.
“You need to harness the latest technologies to optimize performance, fuel economy, safety, comfort and connectivity – which means that modern vehicle design is as much about software and systems engineering as it is about traditional mechanical engineering.”
For many automotive companies, it can be a struggle to integrate effective processes for systems and software innovation into an already-complex product design lifecycle. One of the biggest challenges is traceability. As a project moves from requirements-gathering through architecture design and development to testing and delivery, information can get lost in translation. This can result in the final deliverable not fully meeting the requirements – causing delays and defects, creating extra work, and slowing down the innovation process.
Mahindra & Mahindra provides an example of how to solve this challenge by adopting an end-to-end collaborative lifecycle management approach.
Mahindra & Mahindra’s automotive division decided to implement the IBM® Rational® solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management to link all of the projects, teams and stakeholders involved in systems and software development together into a single end-to-end process. IBM Software Services for Rational supported the implementation, and worked closely with the in-house team to develop some new features to meet the automotive division’s specific requirements.
“With the solution we have deployed, requirements are linked with source code in IBM Rational Team Concert, and with test cases in IBM Rational Quality Manager, and also traced back to the defects which we identify during testing,” says Kishore LM, Senior Lead engineer at Mahindra & Mahindra. “By establishing traceability from requirements to source code to test artifacts to defects, we have gained a very robust and transparent development process that helps our product engineering team collaborate more effectively and deliver faster than ever before.”
End-to-end traceability not only helps ensure that the final deliverables meet the initial requirements – it also makes the company’s innovation process more flexible and capable of coping with changes.
“If we make a change to the requirements, the solution can show us every component that will be affected by the change,” says Kishore LM. “So we can do a full impact analysis instantly and at no cost – something that would be very difficult to achieve without an end-to-end solution.”
From a technical perspective, the solution is built from a suite of IBM Rational software. IBM Rational Team Concert™ provides a collaborative environment to connect architects, developers and testers to other stakeholders, and makes it easier to define project plans. IBM Rational Engineering Lifecycle Manager defines hierarchies for the electrical and electronic products that are being developed.
IBM Rational DOORS® Next Generation is used to elaborate requirements, while IBM Rational Quality Manager handles testing and quality management for development artifacts. Finally, IBM Rational Insight provides dashboards and reporting functionality.
By linking every stage of the systems and software development process into a single seamless lifecycle management environment, the IBM solution helps engineers in Mahindra & Mahindra’s automotive division collaborate more effectively with their peers and other stakeholders.
When a project moves from requirements to development, or from development to testing, there is no longer any danger of losing information during the handover to the new team. All relevant information about every asset and artifact can be accessed within a few mouse-clicks. This saves time, reduces the risk of misunderstandings and helps to increase overall software quality.
Kishore LM comments: “The benefits include reduced efforts for the engineering team, better connectivity between all the stakeholders on the information required for delivering the system, and the ability to reliably deliver an absolutely defect-free product to the end-users. Ultimately, the solution helps us reduce time to market, increase quality, and encourage the development of well-defined components that can easily be reused in subsequent projects.”
He concludes: “IBM is helping us gear up to meet the challenges of an auto industry undergoing tremendous change. By putting us in complete control of our software and systems development process, we can continue to deliver rapid innovation for the next generation of safe, efficient, connected automobiles.”
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