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A software engineering department in a Daimler-Chrysler business unit was highly professional at developing embedded software for busses and coaches. However, customer specific add-ons were a regular source of hassle. Simple as they are, those individual requirements have to be implemented in hours or days rather than weeks or months. Poor quality or late upload into the bus hardware would cause serious cost and overhead. Established software engineering methods were considered inadequate and needed to be cut short. Agile methods offer guidance when quality, flexibility and high speed need to be reconciled. However, we did not adopt any full agile method, but added single agile practices to our process improvement toolbox. We suggested a number of classical process improvement activities (such as more systematic documentation and measurement) and combined them with agile elements (e.g. Test First Process). This combination seemed to foster acceptance of agile ideas and may help us to break the ice for a cautious extension of agile process improvement.
Date of Conference: 23-28 May 2004