The future belongs to Agile development

LQ Mechatronik-Systeme GmbH has started this process with the help of the Laboratory for Machine Tools (WZL) at RWTH Aachen University and employees from the Development Departments have received extensive in-house training on Agile Methods. Hermann Engber, Head of Development at LQ Mechatronik-Systeme explains the logic behind the workshops: "The reason why we have introduced agile product development is because we want to speed up development processes but we also want to be in a position where we can act flexibly within the current process so that we can take countermeasures, if necessary." Nowadays there is increasing individualisation of products and services so customer satisfaction and complying with the customers' requirements is becoming increasingly important. The weaknesses of conventional methods such as development plans and product and performance specifications are becoming increasingly apparent. He is confident in his prediction: "The one-fits-all solution will no longer exist in the future." The user story is at the core – and these are as varied as people themselves.

The Laboratory for Machine Tools brought a ready-made example, which involved the two teams developing the interior of an electric car for which they first defined the customer's requirements: suitable for urban use, a price of 15,000 euros, adapted for the needs of disabled persons, family friendly, etc. "The aim of the first leg of the sprint is to clarify exactly what the target group and the user needs," he continues. The terms that appeared on the flipchart included stowage space, in-vehicle computer, quality of the steering wheel and many more besides. For the second leg, the group looked at how to implement the extracted items on the to-do list.

"Just as for shop floor management, each step towards the finishing line was discussed in short conversations at regular intervals and the tasks were reallocated. These short feedback loops result in prototypes being used at an early stage and this ensures that those involved never lose sight of the customer value," explains Hermann Engber. And he continues: "At LQ we are hoping that the application of this method will achieve optimum and targeted customer orientation for the development of new products."