Volvo Logo (Photo by Sergei Mikhailichenko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
“Across the world, automotive leaders are angry to accretion an advantage in the accomplishing of new technologies, such as free driving, agent connectivity, electrification, and aggregate mobility.”
Heike Freund et al, McKinsey & Company
As cars steadily become “computers on wheels”, Agile administration is overextension from software development to the accomplished firm. Aftermost year, I wrote about Toyota here. Earlier this month, I interviewed Anna Sandberg, who is Head of Connected Advance & Change at Artefact Creation, Volvo Cars in Gotherburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars has about 40,000 advisers and produces about 700,000 cars per year.
I began by allurement Anna about her role in the Agile adventure at Volvo Cars.
Anna Sandberg: My accession at Volvo Cars in September 2017 coincided with a accommodation by Volvo top administration to embrace Agile development in software. Initially, my job was to beforehand the accomplishing of Agile in the software community. But afterwards six months, my appointment broadcast to awning the accomplished artefact range, both accouterments and software.
Volvo accustomed that cars were acceptable “computers on wheels”. We bare methods that were acceptable to that purpose. We had been aggravating to beforehand the concrete car and again add the software later. We saw that to body these “computers on wheels,” we bare to beforehand the software and accouterments at the aforementioned time in an chip fashion. Initially it was adamantine to get bodies to accept this shift. Alike today, we charge to accumulate reminding ourselves of this necessity.
Like abounding companies, Volvo Cars had for some years had a bottom-up Agile movement. There were individuals and software teams that had been admiring to Agile for abounding years. But Volvo Cars hadn’t managed to calibration those efforts. A brace of initiatives had been started, including training in Scrum. But the action was broadcast and it wasn’t accident in a accommodating appearance at scale.
Agile At Ericsson And In Academia
SD: You had appear to Volvo Cars from the Swedish networking and telecommunications firm: Ericsson. How do the adventures compare?
AS: My acquaintance with Agile at Ericsson began about 2005 back we accomplished that we had to beforehand software absolutely abnormally from the acceptable avalanche way of alive with big affairs and specifications. That artlessly didn’t assignment in software development. So, we began to apparatus the basics of Agile. At that time, there weren’t any formalized frameworks for Agile at scale, such as the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) or Ample Calibration Scrum (LeSS). So Ericsson invented its own scaled framework with all the bulkiness that that meant.
I was allotment of several Agile transformations aural Ericsson. In the process, I abstruse how to beforehand change, any affectionate of change actually. In Ericsson, the change was in an Agile ambience area best of the problems were abased on software.
In 2006, I additionally accomplished my automated doctoral apriorism advantaged “Making Software Action Improvements Happen” with my assistant Lars Mathiassen who helped me reflect, analyze, and accept how change happens. The capital cessation was that we charge a lot of altered access to accomplish change appear in practice. It is not abundant to apperceive access if we can’t accomplish it appear in practice. Over the years, I accept connected to analysis and accept added access to accomplish change happen. In 2013, I became an accessory assistant on the aforementioned topic. I am consistently acquirements new tactics.
Agile administration has been implemented over the aftermost 15 years in the software development world. I don’t apperceive annihilation bigger than Agile. I don’t apprehend annihilation bigger than Agile. I don’t see annihilation bigger than Agile advancing forth in future. I accept that Agile is acceptable to be the way forward. I am of beforehand consistently attractive into what is new but the applied catechism for now is: how do we amalgamate cerebration about Agile and Lean with bulk flows and do this in the best way?
In Ericsson, Agile happened boring over a best period. If I assay that acquaintance with automotive at Volvo Cars, we are implementing the transformation abundant faster and on a beyond scale. In part, that’s because we aren’t the aboriginal ones to go Agile. We are adequately aboriginal in implementing Agile as compared to some added big automotive firms, but not compared with the apple at large.
The Scene At Volvo Cars In September 2017
SD: What did you acquisition back you accustomed at Volvo Cars in 2017?
AS: Top administration at Volvo Cars saw that they had to do article about ascent Agile. They had been attractive into the altered methods. They had fabricated accommodation to go for SAFe in aboriginal 2017.
We accustomed that we couldn’t beforehand article new for anniversary product, for anniversary project, for anniversary archetypal of car. We bare to be able to beforehand things that could be activated for abounding new models. We saw that we bare to adapt ourselves into what we alleged “product streams.” That’s why we started an action that we alleged “Agile Artefact Streams”.
SD: How far was the top administration involved?
AS: We had able top administration charge to and captivation in the transformation. At the outset, the beforehand best was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), one of the top managers in the Executive Administration Aggregation (EMT). There were accustomed discussions and accord with all the CTO’s administration team.
The Goal Of The Agile Transformation
SD: What was the cold of the Agile transformation?
AS: At the start, we talked about acceleration and responsiveness. We knew that things were activity too boring compared to changes in the automotive world. The automotive industry is currently activity through a cogent transformation that is actuality apprenticed by alteration customer behaviors, technology accouterment and digitization. Furthermore, there was additionally a affair about quality. In one of the platforms, the affection was at a akin that we had never apparent before. To handle this situation, we saw that we would accept to do things differently. We knew we had to apparatus added avant-garde administration methods to handle the approaching development of our cars.
Volvo Cars Agile Framework
We accept fabricated a lot of progress. We accept acclimated the cerebration of the Rogers Technology Curve in a actual methodical and analytical way.
Rogers Technology Curve
With aggregate we capital to do, we approved to highlight the ones accomplishing able-bodied about (early majority). And aggregate we learned, we stored in our authoritative memory, which was accustomed as the Volvo Cars Agile Framework. It was absolutely an change of SAFe, acclimatized for the automotive sector. This became again the abject for the others back they started to apparatus and practice.
In that framework, we alarm how we adapt ourselves and the new roles, including the archetypal SAFe roles, Scrum Artefact Owners, Artefact Managers, Solution Managers, and so on. And of course, we articular a cardinal of roles that we charge to advice us with procurement, manufacturing, and engineering in the automotive business.
SD: Were there abrasion points?
AS: Of course, there was abrasion absolutely often. Change is difficult in allotment because of the abounding cross-dependencies amid things. So, back addition accomplished that there was a charge to use new way to do article and approved to change, they would acquisition that their aide on whose assignment they were to some admeasurement abased wasn’t necessarily accessible to change at that time.
But in general, there was additionally achievement for those complex because bodies were able to booty albatross for the bigger account of everything.
We absitively to apparatus what we alarm the Program Increment Planning (PI) with a accustomed accent at weeks #10, #22, #37 and #49. We had anybody chase the aforementioned cadence. Today we accept added than 70 altered units and they all do planning at the aforementioned time in weeks #10, #22, #37 and #49.
Of course, in every planning review, we apprentice new things. We altercate the learnings and get all kinds of feedback. And we accept to accord with the kinds of frictions that consistently accompany change.
One of the hardest genitalia apropos the managers, and the about-face from not accepting one administrator amenable for everything, but rather administration that albatross amid several altered roles, such as Scrum Master and Artefact Owner. In the end, they ascertain advantages from agreeable the assignment because they can absorb added time on cardinal work.
The Change Of SAFe In Volvo Cars
SD: You are application an change of SAFe?
AS: The administration aggregation in software had decided, “Let’s go with SAFe,” afterwards accurate analysis of the accessible frameworks. An important point of this alteration was that we accomplished bodies with accelerated training. We spent added than 150,000 manhours in training bodies in altered aspects of Agile. We additionally accomplished about 2,000 leaders in SAFe so that they would accept what is SAFe and how it works. We capital bodies compassionate both the mechanics and the mindshift changes complex in Agile. We had leaders altercate and convenance the new types of behaviors and again accept the after-effects of those behaviors.
The claiming is to absolution the abeyant of the teams. We saw aboriginal that the teams bare to be empowered and accountable. How can managers do that back they accept been accomplished all their lives to command-and-control? There was a lot of acquirements in implementing new roles. It meant actuality accommodating with anniversary added as we practiced. We will abide to convenance for abounding years to come.
SD: Some firms and writers are analytical of SAFe, suggesting that it has a top-down command-and-control spirit aural it, which makes it difficult to apparatus with an Agile mindset. You are advertence that SAFe has been absolutely a absolute acquaintance for Volvo Cars?
AS: I accept apparent how difficult it is to apparatus Agile at calibration back you don’t accept an agreed access to scaling. We charge to apprehend that accomplishing Agile at calibration requires a lot of analytical cerebration and discipline. It agency we accept to assure the attempt about how we behave as leaders. If we do that right, again SAFe can advice us. If we don’t do that, again any adjustment will be bulky for us.
To be honest, I don’t apperceive how to do Agile at calibration afterwards some affectionate of framework and bureaucracy that helps us to adjudge and prioritize. So continued as we do it an accessible and cellophane manner, in a dupe collaborative environment, in which anybody is accustomed to accompany up problems, and accord input, and area we can analyze dependencies and see whether accomplishments and assets bout with commitments, and so on.
The bigger botheration today is now that back we accessible aggregate up, we see that there are dependencies everywhere, and this appears bulky to everyone. Yet, in the past, the problems of dependencies were there but they were hidden and the issues sometimes would appear actual backward back addition was test-driving the car about in the world. And that can be actual expensive.
Now we analyze problems in the planning action afore we alpha development. It’s bulky for bodies to array out these dependencies in the planning processes. But on the added hand, the action eventually saves us a lot of money and we accretion a lot of acceleration and of beforehand bigger affection for our customers.
‘Big Room’ Planning Meetings
SD: So you accept these big allowance planning affairs every quarter?
AS: This is what we alarm our Program Increment Planning. We accept about 70 to 80 big allowance contest at the aforementioned time. They are all in altered landscapes, afterward a two-day procedure. Back you accept done it bristles or six times, you get bigger at it and can do it faster.
For two days, we chase a appealing acute agenda. In some cases, not anybody has the all-important abstracts to boldness their dependencies. So we generally accept a lot of bodies active about in an accomplishment to accept the way forward. But the end aftereffect is that we accept a applicable and committed plan for the accessible 12 weeks.
SD: Critics of SAFe sometimes beforehand that slicing the year up into four abode implies adequation that doesn’t bout absoluteness in software. In fact, you accumulate advertent things as the assignment goes forward. So cerebration you can plan advanced for a division is illusory. What is your experience?
AS: It’s accurate that things can never be absolutely planned for a assertive end-date. But a annual action is as acceptable as annihilation else. That’s because we charge to see and to accent a ample cardinal of items in adjustment to see what we are absolutely activity to do.
And then, of course, it’s not the alone planning process. There are added processes area we plan in beneath detail for best periods. We are still alive on absolutely how to do this, so as to accept the appropriate bulk of addition and improvements. We accept not yet absolutely ample this out.
Agile In The Automotive Industry
SD: The automotive industry is arresting for accepting austere agenda cycles. The abutting archetypal will be delivered at a assertive date, appear what may. It is decided. It is fixed. It will appear then. “The new archetypal charge appear out absolutely two and a bisected years from now, that is to say, May 5, 2022.” How arresting is that cerebration in Volvo Cars?
AS: This is accurate of all the automotive firms. The acumen is that we accept to plan assembly starts. We accept to adjustment aggregate that we will charge so that we are accessible for the alpha of production. All the abstracts accept to be in abode at the appropriate time. We accept to pre-order a continued way in beforehand alike as we try to do this as backward as possible. Otherwise we accident active into massive problems with accumulation flows.
Consumers don’t appetite to absorb a lot of time selecting the appearance they appetite and again delay ten months to get the car. They appetite to be abiding they get all the acceptable actuality in the car at the outset.
So we charge to amend what we do and how we do it and how we plan our work. This is advancing in the car industry all about the world. In the car industry, there is a attitude of accepting to accept aggregate bound bottomward a year in advance. But in the approaching cars, back software is absolutely dominating, you apperceive it will be age-old back it is delivered if development takes too long
Thus back we were developing the accent functions in the car, we begin that we had installed functions that bodies didn’t use as expected. That was partly awkward and partly actual educational for us. We saw that we had to change our development approach.
We additionally accept to be accommodating with our partners. We can’t do aggregate ourselves. We coact with Google for instance. But we are additionally steadily accomplishing added software in-house. We are added careful about which affairs are cardinal that we appetite to accumulate in-house. Of course, the software cipher is allotment of a abundant bigger system. So our ally additionally accept to be allotment of the all-embracing system.
The Cachet Of Agile At Volvo Cars
SD: So overall, what’s the cachet of the Agile adventure at Volvo Cars?
AS: We clearly concluded the basal Agile transformation appearance in December 2019, afterwards two and a bisected years of Agile transformation work. But the Agile adventure continues. We now say that we are entering the appearance of “continuous improvement.” We will optimize and advance the arrangement continuously. We will body up a arrangement as we body up the teams, anecdotic accouterments and seeing how to fix them, or amplify them so that they get anchored at the abutting level.
We are putting added accent on Lean thinking, with connected advance and flow. We bulk breeze mapping. We are continuing to advance the SAFe system. We apprehend to be exploring all aspects of Agile in added detail. We will be abundant added data-driven. We will accept added achievement dialogues on area we are activity and acute trends. We accept that we accept lots of challenges in advanced of us to optimize the arrangement that we now accept in place.
SD: Is “Agile” a acceptable chat today in Volvo Cars?
AS: My booty is that “Agile” has afflicted from actuality a bad chat to a chat that is accustomed to explain what we are doing. It’s not arguable anymore. That’s area the adventure has taken us. But we still accept bodies who accept not understood, or who hesitate, or who ask questions. But the majority accept accustomed the change and are aggravating to amount out the applied implications for themselves: “How do I act in the best way in this approach of operation and again accomplish the change?”
We are now in a appearance area we see problems, that is, opportunities for improvement, all over the place. We accept appear to apprehend that these problems are not the aftereffect of Agile. It is Agile that has enabled us to see all those problems as opportunities for advance so that we can alpha acting to booty advantage of them. That is our challenge.
Overall, we see ourselves as accepting aloof completed the basal accomplish in our Agile transformation journey. We are now advancing connected improvement. We are on a adventure and we apperceive the adventure charge continue. We like to say that we accept fabricated abundant beforehand on Agile to accept the means in which we are not yet Agile
And apprehend also:
Agile Cerebration At Toyota
The 12 Stages Of The Agile Transformation Journey
2020 Volvo V60 Us Release Date Overview – 2020 volvo v60 us release date