New Project Landscape for More Speed and Reliability

When developing vehicle software, it is important to build a bridge between modern, agile development methods and the high safety and documentation requirements of the automotive environment. IAV meets this challenge with an agile project landscape developed in-house.

agile projektlandschaft

Agile development despite extensive process specifications

Agile methods have established themselves in software development for good reasons; they help to ensure that rapidly changing requirements are optimally incorporated into projects. At the same time, regular checks of iterations through tests ensure higher quality and greater transparency. Last but not least, errors and wrong directional decisions in the development process can be avoided.

However, this type of software development partly contradicts the classic specifications of the automotive industry. After all, the development of software for vehicles is subject to process models such as the Automotive SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination), which is standardized as ISO/IEC 15504, or the V-Model, which divides the development process into clearly defined sub-steps. In addition, many other requirements must be observed in the automotive environment, such as the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) safety regulations for cyber security management systems or the functional safety specifications defined in the ISO 26262 standard.

IAV resolves this area of conflict with an agile project landscape developed in-house. It bridges the gap between agile working and the standards and specifications of the automotive industry. In the meantime, it is already proving itself in use for a major OEM customer.

«Our agile project landscape is based on tools and process steps that complement each other optimally and flexibly. We also provide our software specialists with the necessary structural and cultural environment.»

Carsten Elvers — Head of Department Embedded Security

Features come into being during three-week sprints

The development process is based on the Scrum method, where the implementation is organized in three-week sprints. The contents of such sprints are usually features, i.e. specifically defined vehicle functions. In order to quickly achieve testable results, not all constraints or possible errors are taken into account in the early stages of development – refinement, optimization and hardening follow iteratively in each sprint.

A feature is always processed by “Pair Programming,” i.e. by two programmers according to the dual control principle. The team of two supervises its development content through all project phases, from architecture definition, fine design and coding to testing.

The concept of “test-driven development” is also frequently used in this process: Whether it’s a digital vehicle key or an assistance function – if we look at features from the user’s point of view, a suitable functional test can be defined even before the actual software. In such cases, the test is created first and only then the software code. In the course of project development, more and more individual tested aspects then switch from “red” to “green.” The team of two is also responsible for the functional tests that verify and validate the result of each iteration. The goal is always to provide regular, quality-assured deliveries.

Modern project management tools automatically keep logs

This approach is supported by the use of modern development and project management tools – such as the Confluence documentation and communication platform and the Jira administration and reporting software. In addition, specific tools such as Bitbucket, a web-based service for managing version statuses, are used.

«Tools like Confluence and Jira offer the great advantage in project management that they generate metrics and reports automatically. This relieves the programmers of routine work, while at the same time the entire team has an overview of the project status at all times.»

Carsten Elvers — Head of Department Embedded Security

This leads to a real win-win situation: The programming teams can work independently and expediently. And IAV can deliver quality-assured, even faster results of the highest standard to its customers.

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