Exclusive interview with Lennart Krook from Zenuity about Agile Automotive

Mr Krook, what does “agile in automotive” mean to you?
It’s all about speed, speed, speed (time to market). Agile as such is an enabler for speed and flexibility. The goal is to enable continuous deployment, in Zenuity’s case software, as close to production environment as possible, i.e the car/lorry/bus/fleet etc.  


What are the main reasons for using agile methods in your company?
Enable speed and flexibility and focus the company on value bringing activities. The focus is the product development, all initiatives shall support the value flow to the market.


What do you think are the most common reasons for the failure of development projects? How can agile counteract this?
Projects are normally working with a fixed scope and fixed time plan, you are trying to commit to something you know very little about with a horizon up to 3-4 years (if following a release cycle of a new car model). The project model is based on push not necessarily pull from the organizations capabilities.


What do you think makes a good Scrum Master?
Facilitating the way of working in the team and in the end hopefully being a team member with less overhead needed. Typically helping team with focus and continuous improvements.


What do you see as the current trends in automotive agile product development?
SAFe, Introducing product owners and SCRUM way of working.


What are the biggest hurdles in the automotive industry for implementing agile methodologies and structures?
It all starts with the business model and the current release cycle. If the business model does not support a way of continuously deliver and deploy new functionality you will only reach half way. You lose speed and the early feedback loop. The technical side is the ability to deliver safety critical functions with high frequency.


What impact does Industry 4.0 and networked process organizations have on the PEP?
We are heading towards a highly automated transportation sector with self-driving vehicles connected to a traffic system. The communication will be over the air. The winners will be the ones with fast time to market that embrace the future.


Do you feel that OEMS and Tier 1s have a different understanding of agile? How?
The question is, are the OEM’s ready for a much faster release cycle with software enabled vehicles, disconnecting the software from a normal vehicle release cycle enabling continuous updates?


Which of the newer players in the automotive ecosystem are leading the way with agile in automotive?
If not mentioning Zenuity? I really like the way Tesla is stretching all boundaries.


What’s the pop in your job? What is your drive and passion for agile?
The opportunity of building a new company with focus on speed and flexibility AND combining this with something that makes our lives better.