Successfully implementing processes in the automotive industry

Successfully implementing processes in the automotive industry

New Products |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The big question in the automotive industry: How can quality be assured when complexity in the networked vehicle continues to increase? Structured workflows make a decisive contribution to this. This is why the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has developed the Automotive SPICE process framework, which is used worldwide. The problem: users often interpret the requirements differently in practice. Experts from Kugler Maag Cie have therefore published the technical book “The Guide for Automotive SPICE Interpretation”, which points out typical misinterpretations. 

Misunderstandings and pitfalls for implementation lurk time and again in the 16 core processes of Automotive SPICE. The question alone of how extensive a strategy must be in order to fulfil the corresponding requirement leads to intensive discussions. The new reference book by Kugler Maag Cie helps advanced users to understand the intentions of the process model and to implement the process requirements accordingly in a target-oriented manner.

What are the three most common mistakes in implementation? 

  1. Customer vs. system requirements

As a rule, companies have customer requirements, which is what they basically rely on. In a project, it is important to ensure that the agreed results are delivered on time, on schedule and in the required quality. Therefore, the defined stakeholder requirements need to be transformed into a set of system requirements. If this is not done, there is a risk of overlooking functionality or misinterpreting customer expectations. Important: Non-functional aspects are also often neglected, which subsequently usually lead to errors when starting a project or additional development cycles. 

  1. Project management as a fixed part of the calculation

Many underestimate the requirements or responsibilities of project management. Yet with complex systems, a key success factor is to maintain an overview at every stage of the project. After all, if the scope of the project has not been clearly defined and the effort involved has been greatly underestimated, the team will not be able to cope with customer requests, such as function extensions. A widespread mistake in project planning is, among other things, that only the working time for the effort on product elements is taken into account. Internal work – such as project management – is not taken into account in the calculation. 

  1. The need for problem-solving management

Problems can always arise during a project. The crux of the matter is that they often cannot be solved satisfactorily. The cause often lies in the lack of allocation of responsibilities. As a result, problems remain unsolved or are identified too late. The worst case: a multitude of problems pile up and the developers find it impossible to solve them all in the end. That is why every project needs a so-called problem-solving management. Before a problem has occurred, it must be determined how to proceed in such cases. For example, tests can be skipped to speed up the process – if there is a clean configuration management. It is important to weigh up possible risks and define who may approve these ‘short cuts’ and how the process steps are subsequently executed.

In addition to these most common mistakes, the authors of Kugler Maag Cie list other problems and refer to additional sources of knowledge. The book addresses advanced users. 

For those interested in starting from scratch, Kugler Maag Cie offers compact basic literature, such as the “Automotive SPICE Essentials”, supplemented by the introductory video “Automotive SPICE – Over Simplified” and the tutorial videos on YouTube for most of the 16 core processes.

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