Scrum for Hardware

Scrum for Hardware

Scrum for Hardware

By Hubert Smits  |  Management Consultant, SmitsMC LLC

“The rules of the game in new product development are changing. Many companies have discovered that it takes more than the accepted basics of high quality, low cost, and differentiation to excel in today’s competitive market. It also takes speed and flexibility.”

Takeuchi and Nonaka wrote this paragraph back in 1986, and it inspired people to develop Scrum as a way to develop software faster, better and cheaper. Over the last 15 years, the Scrum approach has proven to work in many different projects and it has also proven that Scrum is “simple, not easy”.

The general opinion is Hardware (i.e. cars, photocopiers, combine harvesters) cannot be developed with Scrum. The plan-do-inspect cycle of just 2 weeks is considered too short, teams cannot deliver a satisfactory next version of a product under development that quickly. However, I’m here to tell you that experience proves this assumption wrong.


Fifteen years ago I had discussions with many people who were convinced that big software projects, high-risk software projects, or software package implementations wouldn’t fit in a Scrum framework. Nowadays projects with 1,500 participants have shown to be successful. Government agencies are firm believers in Scrum. Just like critics in software were proven wrong, so will critics of ‘Scrum for Hardware’!


About the Author

Hubert Smits has been working with Scrum for over 15 years, and as a Scrum trainer for over 10 years. While training all around the world he built a broad and deep experience with Scrum in many domains. Recently he is applying it to develop hardware, like the Wikispeed car.

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