Agile Software Development in the Automotive Industry

Cars are getting smarter as the automotive industry adds more technological features to cars. Because of this, there is a need for continuous development of the pieces of software that control all the different electronic functions in cars. Companies like Google and Tesla are leading the development of software for the automotive industry with other car manufacturers trying to catch up. To close the gap, most of them are turning to agile software development. Below, we will look at why. 

The Benefits of Turning to Agile Development

There are several proven benefits of turning to agile including:

  • Faster time to deploy
  • Better handling of the complexities of automotive software
  • Increasing the quality of the software deployed
  • Building products that better align with customer needs
  • Reducing the cost of production

Reduction in Time Wastage

The older model of software development includes understanding requirements, managing changes, and managing data. Software developers must focus on analysis, design, and development while other developers focus on validation and testing of each iteration. 

Even though this approach allows car manufacturers to manufacture physical vehicle parts while sourcing software from developers who get the specifications at the start of the project, it is very inefficient. 

It wastes time because it can take a very long time to get from the planning and research stage to the user feedback stage. Because everything works in tandem in agile software development, this inefficiency and time wastage is reduced. 

Flexibility

One of the bottlenecks in software development workflows is the inability to adapt to changes fast. This is true for older software development processes but is not true for agile software development. There are many different approaches to agile in automotive software development that companies can choose from including:

  1. Feature-driven software development
  2. Extreme programming
  3. Scrum, which prioritizes daily check-ins and reports, and iterative development

Agile frameworks also allow for faster responses to change and user feedback, continuous software development, constant interaction, and customer collaboration. Regardless of what framework you choose, tools like the Kanban software from Kanbanize could come in handy. Kanbanize creates software that helps teams be more agile and productive. They have gained a lot of market space due to the quality of their software.

Managing Daily and Weekly Development Cycles

When developing software for the automotive industry, developers have to think about the quality of their code as well as the safety of drivers and passengers. These are vital for an automotive company.

Because agile prioritizes collaboration and constant check-ins, a developer can catch bugs early and thus avoid any safety issues. There is also continuous integration and deployment, both of which can bring incremental changes to software, thereby making it safer.

Because continuous integration and deployment are faster than doing it manually, companies can bring their products to market faster. Also, the quality of the software improves over time as more iterations get deployed. 

Agile development also allows for teams to get feedback quickly and if they have weekly releases, they can release minor fixes and updates depending on the feedback they receive.

Continuous Improvement

Agile companies love changes. This is because every change is a learning experience and a chance to make their product better.  Change management allows companies to keep an eye on the scope of their products plus any changes that help ensure that they are reaching their customers’ expectations. Change management also ensures that companies can strike a balance between iterating their software and integrating changes that are prompted by user feedback. 

Real-time Software Updates

Over the Air software changes and updates have been around since the rise of smartphones. Now the automotive industry is using them to deploy firmware changes and ensure that all their vehicles are running the latest software. 

Also, the automotive industry can receive real-time data from the cars they manufacture, thereby helping with further changes and development. In this way, car manufacturers can increase the quality of their products during the testing phase and can shorten the development cycle and thus bring their products to market faster.

Scaling

The automotive industry can scale a team up and down depending on its needs. Companies realize that going agile helps with the software development process and, therefore, look for ways to optimize their teams to perform at their peaks. For this, they look to see if they need to scale up or down.

The problem is when companies scale up or down too quickly or at the wrong time. This can have devastating effects on their ability to produce and is something that experts warn against. Before doing this, companies must check to ensure that their development cycles are steady and that the costs of scaling up or down are worth it.

Conclusion

Going agile is the norm these days with companies trying to find ways to improve the quality of their software while still bringing products to the market in a reasonable timeframe. Agile allows for this and more including the ability to improve the safety of cars in the automotive industry, as well as help deploy over the air updates in a shorter period.


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