TAF unites best practices from classical hardware product development with agile aspects inspired by software. It facilitates to first focus on how to build the right product before building it right.
A business’s long term sustainability is determined by its ability to address a constantly changing market and economic environment. Until recently developing new products was a haphazard affair, based on a combination of past performance and good instinct. Nowadays technology has a very short life cycle. The challenge of innovation is getting technology to market more quickly. The competition is not the other enterprise, but start-ups that are geared for rapid execution. (Owens and Fernandez, 2014)
The complexity within products and processes increases and the need for operative agility is seen as a key factor of success (Link and Lewirck, 2014). On this account, TAF is a huge opportunity to break deadlocked and rigid processes and structures to follow up on new ideas and implement them more quickly and also flexibly. The Agile Framework allows employees a facilitated networking and communicating across spatial, organizational and hierarchical borders.
The mechatronic development of today’s products in mechanical engineering effects on the close interaction of various disciplines whereupon a high level of integration prevails. Processes have to adapt to continuous change in technology and user needs. Multiple-discipline mechatronic engineering needs to cope with the high level of uncertainty and complexity.
The term “agile” describes a set of values and principles, which are implemented by several practices, methods and tools (Link and Lewirck, 2014). In contrast to plan-driven approaches the development goal is continuously adjusted to the user feedback or rather changes that may occur because of regulatory adjustments or new technologies. The specification and development is done in several cycles using several prototype versions. Processes, rules and working methods are also not pre-determined, but are developed during the progress of the project (Boehm and Turner, 2006).
In the context of engineering, agility is defined as the ability to develop functional product artefacts incrementally, while adapting to the environment flexibly and repeatedly, considering factors of context (Klein, 2016). Agile practices are very important in regard of innovation capability, time-to-market, quality, motivation and transparency, for example. Changes that occur by the customer, the supplier, the market or due to failure situations are considered step by step. Agile models foster self-organization and intend a close interaction with the user.
TAF is backed by research at TUM and has been battle tested and improved throughout several iterations of agile product development courses at TU Munich.