Breaking with the Laws of Automotive

Co-autored with Helmuth Ritzer

Wolfgang Hilpert and I had the pleasure of working together over the past years. We both started our individual careers in two different domains, software and automotive, two industries that increasingly converge as software becomes a key differentiating factor in most products today. Beside the many differences on what we worked on specifically, there is a common theme that always popped up on both sides, something we want to talk about here: how companies must work differently in order to build customer centric products in the future. It’s one of the themes that we think is vital for the next industrial or digital age.

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Beware of the Efficiency Trap

Do NOT confuse motion with progress!

Sometimes we need a disruption to look for insights beyond our immediate context. When we are busy as individuals working through our to-do list, or as teams working down our backlog items, or as organizations through the items on our operational list of responsibilities it is quite easy to miss seeing the forest for the trees. Imagine we are so busy with cutting the trees and entirely focused on doing things right to maximize the number of trees cut per day that we miss entirely asking ourselves whether we are actually doing the right thing, i.e. are we even cutting the trees within the right forest?

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The optics of going Agile

During the time of increased pressure to adapt to ever-changing circumstances it becomes apparent that innovative digital solutions are challenging the value of traditional products and business models even more than before. Many organizations shift to an Agile way of working in order to improve their ability to learn from the feedback of existing and new customers quickly enough so that they can adapt and serve their customers’ needs better than other new or existing businesses could.

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Is agile about speed or about quality?

There are a number of great observations worth reflecting about in this article by Misha Shanks. Her discussion whether “Agile [is] more about quality or speed — or can it be about both?” caught my particular attention as I am repeatedly drawn into similar debates. Misha actually quotes Bob Galen, one of the veterans in the field:

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