Agile approach for steering of digital projects and roadmap

data driven machine learning digitalization

In today's digital era, we often see that businesses are prioritizing digitalization to meet stakeholder needs across departments. On the other side, implementing individual projects within local factories often loses sight of the overall business goals.

While larger companies often have a centralized unit to coordinate company-wide digital initiatives, local teams play a crucial role in driving specific projects in their factories. In order to sustain speed and flexibility in local factories, projects in certain areas can and should be driven forward by local teams. Local projects that drive digitalization such as machine integration, user-friendly interfaces, and digital assistance systems empower local teams to optimize processes, leverage data effectively, and create a streamlined shop floor environment.  

The Challenge

  • A common challenge arises when a team of technical experts from different domains such as automation, IT, and production drive projects specific for local factories. The current implementation activities often lose sight of the overarching value-driven stories and business needs that should guide them.
  • Implementation roadmap becomes crowded with numerous high-priority technical items pursued simultaneously such as connecting shop floor machines to an IoT platform or creating databases.
  • Furthermore, the implementation team responsible for these projects is frequently overbooked, juggling their regular factory duties alongside implementation tasks. This situation leads to frustration and inefficiencies within the team.

Our Recommendations

  • To enhance resource management and streamline implementation activities, we propose transforming the factory's digitalization roadmap and project steering into an agile framework. By adopting this approach, projects can be continuously evaluated and aligned with value-driven narratives.
  • Establish a steering board responsible for crafting value-driven stories that act as guiding principles for digitalization projects. These stories can then be translated into specific technical or organizational initiatives that support the narratives.
  • The suitability of this approach needs to be assessed based on the unique circumstances of the customer and factory. Factors such as the roadmap's flexibility due to dependencies with other departments or restrictions imposed by a company-wide IT system introduction plan should be carefully considered.

Next Steps and Implementation

  • Create a dedicated cross-functional implementation team that reports directly to a major business sponsor, preferably the factory lead.  
  • This team should include a product owner, project manager, and representatives from the IT, data, and production domains. Their collective expertise ensures comprehensive coverage and efficient project execution.
  • Hold regular agile meetings every 2-4 weeks in a steering committee, involving the major business sponsor. These meetings serve as a platform to review the current implementation progress, assess alignment with the value-driven stories, and make necessary adjustments to the project backlog or resource allocation.

By embracing an agile approach and establishing a collaborative implementation team, businesses can effectively harness the potential of digitalization, optimize resource utilization, and achieve value-driven outcomes.

Let's connect!

If you're seeking guidance or support in implementing agile strategies for your digitalization initiatives, we are here to help. Contact us to learn more about our expertise in driving efficient and successful digital transformation.

Samruddhi Jadhav
Senior Technology Specialist Industry 4.0
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