11 May 2021

Internet of Things

Agile Development In The Industrial World

Lots of industrial companies, such as equipment manufacturers, are used to working in a ‘waterfall’ way. The projects, which can span several years before market release, always follow the same structure.

It starts with prototyping, proceeds with analysis, continues with the building process, and finally – testing. The process is always the same.

However, popularity aside, the structure can pose problems for software development teams delivering digital solutions connecting these companies and machines – who are used to working in using ‘agile’ methods.

Introducing Agile

If you have experience in software development, you know about agile project management and methodology.

Rather than solely focusing on the end goal, the agile methodology breaks down larger projects into smaller tasks, letting teams complete projects faster, release benefits, and make necessary changes as they go.

With flexibility and collaboration at its core, the agile way of working allows teams to adapt quickly to stakeholders' changes or discovering improvements.

Because of agile project management's vast popularity in software development, we were curious to see if it could benefit other industries the same way.

A Client Case

Take one of our customers, a large global machine builder. The company typically builds the machines, moves on to production, and then starts their marketing material, and user guides.

With long-term stretches, they can spend a long time building things like user documentation in different languages.

With the traditional approach of not going to market until the waterfall process is over, we came in with the approach to deliver value every third week.

As you can understand, our three-week delivery schedule and wanting similar, agile time scopes from our customer clashed with their approach. Naturally, a big mindset shift was needed, which proved challenging on our customer's end.

Faster Release With Agile

The daily stand-ups, where team members share what they did yesterday and what they plan to do today, were also different from what many existing employees were used to.

Engineers and machine builders often want to know the full details before taking the next steps. In agile development, there’s no such luxury. The aim is to release fast and get customer feedback before making further adjustments.

We build platforms that our clients can offer to their customers. Because they want to learn more from their customers and get more insights from their machines and equipment, we need to extract data from those machines. They also want to deliver more services for the same cost – which also needs more data.

This collaboration has proven to be a win-win for both our customers and Inimco.

Onboarding Agile

To get clients on board with the agile methodology, we use scrum as a way to work. We offer in-depth training to help customers understand the principles, hold stand-ups, sprint planning sessions, product backlogs and more. For the time we’re in charge, we help our clients do everything – onboarding and building the platform alongside.

Many of these companies already have an IT department and work in an agile way. However, engineering departments often don’t, as they typically work independently. When we onboard a customer, we often ask if there’s agile experience in-house. If there is, we can get support from the CIO and CTO, making it easier to get employees on board to start working in an agile way.

Before working with Inimco, customers thought that they would never work in an agile way. But the feedback always ends up being great – from identifying product features to fully automated rollouts are refreshing and exciting for them. It's also one of the keys to success – something new colleagues feel as they come onboard.

The Many Benefits

By developing in an agile way, you can secure faster deliveries, new functionalities and also provide faster updates and fixes to improve performance further.

In the traditional waterfall ways, deploying new releases takes way longer. It’s not uncommon for one yearly release. With agile, you can have official releases as quickly as every three weeks.

The agile methodology is not only about how the machines operate. It’s changing the way the business operates too. We find that faster and more frequent deliveries help build your brand loyalty while directly improving customer experience.

Discover how we work. Contact us today!