Definition of Done for Hardware Projects with longer release cycles

  |   Agile, Blog, Test Driven Development, Xtreme Manufacturing   |   No comment

I was recently emailed by a savvy Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) about the “Definition of Done for Hardware Projects with longer release cycles. e.g. Saab Fighter Jets.”

Kelley Harris writes:  >>I’d welcome your suggestions for adjusting the definition of done for hardware projects that have a longer release cycle. e.g. the Saab Fighter jet on a 6-month cycle. Or GE’s Jet engines on 18-month cycle, etc.

I have CSM students from some HW/SW companies. e.g. Cisco hardware + firmware with 12-18 month release cycles. Lockheed Martin with space launches that only happen once, at the end of 10+ years of development.

What would you tell these students when they ask, “What does it mean to be done and potentially shippable at the end of one week, when there is no hardware ready for months or years, and there really is one one big shipment?”>>

And here are my current best thoughts in the response>>
I’m glad you asked. Many companies just can’t even imagine, yet, a world where they can produce their physical products in short iterations. This is simply not true, as more and more companies every week are achieving it. This is such a common belief that Alex Brown and I are teaching a 45 minute online course on short cycles (<1 week) in large volume production manufacturing + their support industries:
About the definition of done, whether the release cycles are multiple times a day or every 5-7 years, I’d recommend the DOD be very similar in both cases. Companies have the best results when their iteration is releasable. To do that, the DOD includes the regulatory compliance tests, packaging, any required documentation (more often video filming now then writing), unit testing of each module with stubbed neighbor modules, integration testing across all modules, and regression testing to verify the product or service meets the company’s mission statement and not just the minimum regulatory requirement. The stubs piece of this, just like in software only teams when they were just getting started with Scrum and not able to ship their entire project in a week or less, allows the piece that is developed this sprint to be tested against the other modules in the system. A good Object Oriented Architecture is required for contemporary product or service development, and enables this TDD approach to hardware or services.
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