Delivering value through Agile
At Brace Automotive we manage complex projects for our clients. As an organisation we invest in the project managemenuit skills of our Engineers. Agile is an important concept that we integrated in our way of working. We asked Brace Automotive Engineer Douwe Gerritsen what it actually entails.
What is your position at Brace Automotive and how long have you been working in Automotive Engineering?
Douwe:"I am a Project Engineer, specialized in Development Process Engineering. I've been active in the field of Automotive Engineering for around eight years."
What is the main difference between Agile and Iterative project management?
Douwe:"Iterative project management is just one of the concepts in Agile. By working in small iterations, Agile methods aim at delivering value to the customer as early as possible in a project, allowing flexibility and adaptations in scope and also to limit risks on budget, time spent and features developed. Agile as whole is a combination of methods, best practices and a philosophy on how to manage projects and organizations. Simply said, iterative development is just one of the tools in the Agile toolbox."
What are the benefits of Agile?
Douwe:"Apart from the already mentioned benefits of the iterative aspects (less risk, early delivery of business value, more flexibility) Agile offers more employee satisfaction by empowering engineers to do their work the way they know is best and by letting them focus on their expertise rather than on time consuming elements that add no business value. Agile teams work in a self-learning way that enhances the skill of all team members by allowing them to share knowledge on-the-job. By focusing on openness and communication, Agile methods build trust, both within the organization as well as between the organization and its customers."
Are there specific challenges in working with Agile in Automotive projects?
Douwe:"Automotive projects are bound to a number of standards and legislations that seemingly contradict with some core values of the Agile philosophy. The heavy focus on very detailed requirements and the many mandatory work products outside of the engineering domain are just some examples.
It can be challenging to work within the boundaries of the Automotive Industries' standards and traditions without compromising on the principles that make Agile work."
How does Brace Automotive apply Agile in projects?
Douwe:"Internally, we embrace the Agile values that enable our engineers to get the most out of their teamwork and work lean and efficiently. They get the satisfaction of continuously improving their skills, their team and the products they develop."
"Towards our customers we use Agile to ensure rapid and constant delivery of value, sprint by sprint. We use agile planning methods to give customers full insight in their projects' status and allow them to adjust the project when requirements become more clear over time."