AGILE FRAMEWORKS FOR PHYSICAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
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The Agile approach has for last 25 years revolutionized information technology through its radical alternative to traditional sequential development processes. Agile frameworks are now spreading to improve the development of innovative physical products, and are expected to increase product success rates, speed to market, improved quality based on customer feedback, and boosting the motivation of the product development team. The literature review in this paper identifies the gap between Agile Software Development and Agile Hardware Development, by an analysis of existing literature on Agile Software Development and Agile Product Development for startups. First, this paper proposes definitions and classifications of the Agile approach. Second, it analyses six Agile frameworks for physical product development up against traditional product development and Agile software frameworks. Third, it briefly compares Agile Software Development and Agile Hardware Development through existing literature on Agile Product Development, by highlighting similarities and differences. This paper discovers a lack of literature about Agile frameworks for physical products, that Agile Product Development is a relatively new and an undiscovered field, and that there exist no frameworks only used for physical product development. Regarding literature for startups who want to develop physical products with an Agile approach, the authors have found very few, and almost no holistic approaches. Based on this, the authors have done case studies on four hardware startups, and have found several findings which are relevant for the development of the field. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the Agile approach can be used by startups in the development of physical products. This is investigated by considering if startups use Agile frameworks for physical product development, and by examining how the use of Agile frameworks is different from what is described in literature. Findings from the case studies show that hardware startups mix concepts from different Agile frameworks. The startups only use some of the concepts from the Agile frameworks they claim to use, and customize their own frameworks by borrowing concepts from several other Agile frameworks. This can be loosely connected to the finding which shows that all the interviewees have a diverging understanding of what an iteration, a prototype and an increment is. This partly builds on existing theory, were experts state that managers don't understand the Agile approach even when they are confronted with it. Further the study identifies a fundamental difference between the development of hardware and software products. The length of an iteration seems to vary to a large degree between the case studies, and iterations are much longer than what is presented by existing literature. A consequence of this, shown in other findings, is that the frequency of testing becomes much lower, customer interaction becomes rarer, and taking a product to market takes longer compared to software development.