What’s new in SAFe 5? SAFe for Hardware Development!


Hi all.  Many of us work in organizations that are trying to improve product delivery where the solutions include hardware.  While SAFe offers software developers a myriad of practices to accelerate execution, we have had little to say to hardware developers. Until now.

Today, the hardware community is in the same position as the software community was two decades ago when they experienced increasing business demand for faster and high-quality delivery.  The software community invented new practices such as Agile methods and continuous integration, which led to technology innovations like microservices, platform/infrastructure-as-a-service, and interface management to support them.  Today, the business is demanding ever-faster delivery of high-quality hardware and mechanical systems and subsystems.    The pressure is now on hardware development to discover new Lean and Agile practices to support faster solution delivery.

We now see Agile practices start to emerge in the hardware industry. Organizations are successfully using digital engineering/digital twins, 3D printing, ‘PCB in a day,’ test-driven-development in CAD design, ‘continuish integration’, and other practices and technologies that accelerate product delivery and improve quality.

The latest update of SAFe 5 includes new guidance for those who face this particular challenge. The article Applying SAFe to Hardware Development describes six principles that are critical to helping hardware engineers better understand how Lean-Agile development applies to their context. These principles will be immediately recognizable for those who are familiar with SAFe:

  1. Organize around value for hardware development
  2. Embrace variability and preserve options
  3. Build incrementally, integrate frequently
  4. Design for change
  5. Perform work in small batches
  6. Build quality in for hardware

Its high time Lean and Agile crosses the chasm to help hardware and cyber-physical systems builders meet the digital age demands. You can read the article here. And you can assuredly count on more from us in the future.


Author Info

Harry Koehnemann

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