A large automotive supplier for drive technologies was faced with the challenge of having processes of an extensive development project certified by an external auditor according to the Automotive SPICE standard. In addition to the use of suitable Atlassian tools, the focus was also on process adaptations within the agile framework SAFe® and thus the mapping of dependencies within individual teams and their tasks. As a solution provider for digital project management and as part of the preparation for the audit, catworkx supported the company in optimizing project management and the associated processes.
The first challenge for the company was to combine the V-model, which is common in this area, with agile methods for the teams involved in the development process. Although individual teams were already working in an agile manner, supported by Atlassian Jira software, they were doing so in a team-specific manner that made it difficult to provide a consistent overall view of the current status. For example, it was not possible to achieve a comprehensible and transparent presentation of the critical path across teams. This requires the mapping of dependencies within individual teams and their tasks.
Process adaptations according to Automotive SPICE® and SAFe®
To bring the agile approach already in use into better alignment with Automotive, optimizations were proposed and implemented to facilitate scaling of planning from the team level to the overall project level. Important elements here were the introduction of a uniform approach to effort estimation and a common understanding of planning horizons.
In the future, project planning should take into account the program increments proposed in SAFe®. The program increments represent higher-level iterations that cover several sprints. The concept was adopted and the overall project plan was then planned in iterations (PIs) and sprints. Team sprints were further synchronized so that joint planning events could take place simultaneously on a larger scale.
For the work in the different A- SPICE® process groups, a structure was defined that allows all development activities to be broken down into features and stories based on so-called “initiatives” (larger feature groups). The planning horizons allow planning in PIs (features) and sprints (stories).
Combined in use: BigPicture, Structure and eazyBI
On the tool side, the optimizations were supported by a combination of the Jira system already in use and newly introduced apps:
For example, Big Picture (formerly SoftwarePlant, now Appfire) serves as the central tool for overall project planning. In addition to a Gantt view, it provides a planning board for teams during PI Plannings. In addition, all project teams were set up in the tool: This enabled comprehensive resource planning, based on available capacity.
With App Structure (ALM Works), teams can generate individual reports. For example, you get an overview of planned and performed efforts for sprints and PIs per team or initiative.
For overall reporting at the management level, the eazyBI Reports and Charts for Jira app from eazyBI was selected. In this way, the planned effort can be transparently displayed across the entire project per team and in the various planning horizons via embedding in the Jira dashboard and on project pages in Confluence.
Better project planning through transparency of dependencies
In addition to process consulting and the implementation of the respective solution, catworkx also supported the use of the software through employee training sessions that were specifically tailored to the company.
Conclusion: The restructuring of processes, supported by Atlassian software, led to a transparent project status throughout the company. Project planning has also been improved, as the clear display allows potential bottlenecks in resources to be identified quickly and countermeasures to be taken accordingly. In addition, the representation of team dependencies enables better project planning.
The company successfully passed the required audit for Automotive SPICE (MAN.3).