A global automotive supplier of electronic products. In 2008 the company had with more than 1000 software, hardware and mechanical engineers all over the world. The compliance to industry standards (Automotive SPICE, CMMI, TÜV) was ensured by a strong internal standards and processes.
The software activities of the Hybrids Battery Management Systems department were in the Sofia Development center in Sofia. It consisted of about 25 highly qualified engineers.
Due to organizational reasons, the standard software processes are designed to be suitable for projects that form 80% of the product portfolio in their most time consuming product management phases – design, development and validation. The definition of standard process for the prototyping product phase is challenging due to too many specifics related to the product and the different customer expectations. Thus process tailoring remains in the scope of the given project.
Usually there is no prototype phase since most of the products are based on extensive experience and very detailed customer specifications. This creates process compliance problems for the development of new products part of new business niches. The projects shall find custom solutions in order to adapt to the organizational requirements.
In the case of the Hybrid Battery Management Systems department, projects included only prototype phase and sometimes a short maintenance. Thus the projects had to start fast in a predefined adapted environment.
When preparing prototypes in the Hybrids Battery Management Systems department, a good list of the standard software management and development activities are processed by simple / ad-hoc decision making, others are sketched based on main assumptions and reused components.
The application of standard software development process to prototyping projects generated overhead and increased significantly the time to market. It was not suitable for hybrid technologies which in 2008 were top technologies worldwide. So standard processes were simply rejected by the department and so not applied.
A review of the standard development processes was performed with the goal to identify which activities were applicable for the prototype development and which was overhead.
Each overhead activity was adapted with a justification on why it is not performed during the prototype phase and in which cases it would be performed. Often substitute of the original outputs was defined with a custom template.
Statement of works / Software development plans were based on the Standard Process Tailoring document all prototyping projects.
The standard tailoring on product line level optimized the prototype:
- The effort for project administration and process compliance reviews decreased significantly.
- Project teams were able to concentrate on development, not on activities with low (or none) added value.
- The time for project set up was minimized from more than a week to two days.
- All prototyping projects were compliant to the strong internal standards.