Do we need a new manifesto for the automotive industry and what could that contain? In Track F Software Development & Digitalization on May 24th at VECS 2023 we will have the pleasure of listening to Heidi Norman, Sidekick, Assured. Heidi has been deeply embedded in the automotive industry for more than a decade. At Volvo Group – beyond the roles she held – she was a change leader, cooperatively building the software factory and striving towards digitalization. She left Volvo Group to learn to build business in a new way and is at the moment working together with others to embed cybersecurity in the Automotive Industry. We had a chat with Heidi before the Event and she shared her thoughts on how to speed up software development, digitalization and cross collaboration in the Automotive Industry.
What will you speak about at VECS 2023?
I will look at the agile manifesto through the lens of a confession “What we have learnt and what we can do better”. From there I’ll move into the daily reality of the people working in this hotpot of an industry. The last decade took automotive this far and change keeps coming, so the question is where do we go from here? What have we learnt and what kind of future do we want to have?
How can we increase speed in software development?
When it comes to speed it’s easy to reach for the quick fixes like inserting tools and new technology, but it has to start with purpose and strategy. For me any change begins and ends with people – who are we, what are we here to do, why and for whom? So don’t crank up your speed only, make sure the increase and the output has value. Preferably some value for people.
What can the automotive industry learn from other industries when it comes to software development?
Actually, I think it’s the other way around – it’s about time the automotive industry actively contributes in the teaching and shares the lessons we have learnt. We need to shake off the feeling that we’re the underdogs. Is the software development perfect today and are we done? Never. However, what other industry has balanced the new and old, mechanical and software, regulations and agility, research and production the way Automotive has? We have learnt a lot along the way while striving towards new business models, autonomous vehicles and minimizing environmental impact.
How come other industries and software companies haven’t taken a larger part of the automotive business yet? Maybe one part of the answer is that what we do is unbelievably hard.
How can we move forward in digitalization?
By a lot of soul searching and operational daily work. Both as individuals and as businesses. To move forward is to change and challenge both your own ideas and the shared ones at your company at every level. Do you feel safe enough to voice your ideas and to challenge the status quo? Is your company prepared to bet on them? Most organizations need to balance delivering today AND changing what is possible at this moment. Some days you’ll take small steps other days huge leaps. That’s where the real change and impact comes from – the magic of trying something today – not from cheap talk.
What can we do to encourage cross collaboration in the automotive industry?
In this 100-year-old industry many of the older companies can afford to invest in a new culture of collaboration. There are plenty of collaboration points in the industry today for example with VECS, research, startup hubs or in standardization work, however we would all benefit from a more operational and development-like collaboration. What problems do we solve internally and which ones can we benefit from solving together with others? I would like to see more open-source initiatives and communities across the industry.
What is the most important you would like to share in your presentation?
Whatever you think about the talk my hope is that you leave reflecting on your own history and your future role in this industry. I believe it’s time we start talking about what kind of future we want for automotive. Maybe it’s time to iterate agile and build a manifesto of our own.