Agile Engineering

The case for change in automotive research and development

Traditionally, engineering has been at the heart of automotive companies, both in original equipment manufacturing (OEM) and supplier organizations. Today, however, R&D departments face intense pressure on two fronts:

On the output side, the challenges of ever increasing complexity, shorter and heterogeneous product lifecycles, increased competition from non-automotive players, dynamic regulations, multiple technology shifts, and tight program deadlines have become part of the daily travails of R&D executives worldwide.

On the input side, the need to cut down on costs (sometimes by as much as 30 percent), a “ceiling” for in-house R&D capacity, an increasingly scarce supply of talent, and a lack of resources in critical “new” competences are equally worrisome.

Moreover, there is the inherent risk that the managers currently in place – many of them “petrolheads”, enthusiastic about traditional vehicle engineering – are missing the needs of the next generation of car buyers. Specification books are typically based on the predecessor and on those of traditional competitors, and are written three to four years before a product enters the market. Moreover, the link with current and future customers is diluted by organizational silos, international communication barriers, and a rigid hierarchy.

Automotive engineering is increasingly coming under pressure – Agile engineering is a solution for many current R&D challenges


Exhibit: Many industrial companies have already started to implement agile in a mixed hardware/software world



Source: Oliver Wyman research and analysis


Agile Engineering