All of this puts tremendous pressure on automakers and software shops to respond quickly to customer needs and services from competitive companies. Software shops need to use agile development techniques to meet these challenges. Here are three questions companies need to ask about how their software development groups can adapt to this new way of developing applications:
1. What cultural shift is required? For years software shops at automakers operated much like the military, in a command and control, top-down model. Today, companies need to create flexible teams of workers from different disciplines who are involved in the software development from the start. For this to work, everyone must contribute and everyone has input into the final product. Former U.S. Naval Captain David Marquet has a famous presentation where he explains that, instead of simply instructing all the men on his submarine to blindly follow orders, he lets the sailors closest to the work make the decisions. The captain then only kept the final decision to fire a weapon at the top of the chain of command with him. These cultural changes earned his group high marks on inspections and he now runs a successful consulting business. Much can be learned from this approach in terms of getting all members of the team to contribute and not be afraid to make decisions. After all, the coders are the ones closest to the work.
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3. What are the outcomes that organizations can realistically expect from agile development? By creating an agile development organization, companies can stay flexible as requirements change while also improving time-to-market. Instead of rolling out complete products, software can be developed in smaller modules. This results in fewer bugs and modules that can be plugged in as the teams develop the products.
Companies often don’t know how to get started changing their development organizations. They are too close to the operation and need a team of experienced consultant to get them to look at the organization from a fresh angle. DXC has the experience with large global organizations to help you build development teams that can scale across your organization, from the headquarters group to the most far-flung sites offshore.
Author: Enrico Stark
Enrico Stark is Head of Application Development & Transformation Advisory for DXC North & Central Europe, and contributes to DXC’s Automotive Center of Excellence.