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Lean development

Continuous improvement is not sufficient anymore. Today, automotive development must enable disruptive change and fast evolution. It is not just about processes, methods, and tools: we have to establish a new culture, redefine leadership, and build up motivation that comes from within.

Changes in the automotive industry

Electronics and software have an increasingly important role in automotive manufacturing. Faster innovation cycles, greater vehicle diversity and high development costs. Today’s fast-paced development environment requires maximum flexibility, which is practically impossible when manufacturers and suppliers use traditional collaboration methods.

New requirements on software development and collaboration models

The vehicles’ long life cycles are not compatible with the far shorter life cycles of software development and upgrading. Manufacturers need high reliability and cross-platform systems that comply with all quality standards. They need to integrate optimizations and new technologies quickly, and be able to update the in-vehicle software at any time.

Improvements through lean development

Lean development focuses on the value stream optimization through the whole organization. The result is a more efficient development with higher satisfaction of customers and employees. Agile methods help to fulfill lean principles, improve transparency, quality, flexibility, and the time-to-market. Typical agile practices are: intensive customer involvement, short iterations with usable products, fast feedback, stable and committed teams.

Lean development also has a big impact on contract design. In the past, contracts between customers and suppliers were written to exclude risks or transfer them to the other contract partner, complicating cooperation. In the future, lean contracts will provide collaboration incentives and focus on flexible, result-oriented teamwork rather than endless discussions on specifications and change requests.

Challenges for the automotive industry

Although lean development has been used very successfully in the IT sector for many years, it is only slowly adopted by the automotive industry. Reasons for that are, e.g., closer dependency to hardware development, hard-to-change company-wide processes and the fear to jeopardize compliance with standards like ASPICE or ISO 26262.

EB is your partner to introduce lean development

EB already successfully uses agile development methods. Read a short introduction.

When Elektrobit and Ford collaborated on the SYNC system, EB introduced agile methods and scrum sessions to increase the number of development increments and to improve transparency. Read more.

Another example is, a joint venture between Audi and EB. The challenge was to build a bridge between both the entertainment electronics and the automotive domains in Audi vehicles. This bridge was called the modular infotainment kit (MIK). It was a major success and MIK was rolled out in 2012. Today, it is used for all Volkswagen Group brands.

Together with Daimler, Elektrobit has developed a collaboration model – the EB Software Factory – for the fast integration and testing of driver assistance software. Benefit from our experience in agile development! Read more.

Also, read more about how to tackle new challenges in software development by using agile methods. Have a look into our tech papers:
Lean Software Development for the Automotive Sector . A practical combination.
Managing complexity with agile development


Related services

Lean software consulting

We support you in introducing agile methods up to agile development processes.


Software for the automotive industry