Agile in Non-Software and Multidisciplinary Environments

Presence of software in products is rising rapidly. Software engineering today increasingly goes hand in hand with other engineering disciplines (e.g. hardware, mechanics). Product development is more and more a multidisciplinary endeavor.

Development actions and decisions taken within one discipline have profound impact on other disciplines. This impact is often not easy to anticipate and understand. Using agile methods to create quick feedback mechanism and transparency seems like good tools to apply in multidisciplinary engineering environments.

However introducing an agile development method that originates from the software community (e.g. Scrum) into a hybrid engineering environment is apparently not so easy to do (due to differences between disciplines, cultures, development tasks…).

The aim of the session is to explore to what extent can agile be applied in a multidisciplinary engineering environment. Other objectives are:

  • Identify success stories where agility was successfully applied in such heterogeneous environment
  • Identify key success factors for applying agility in these environments
  • Identify relevant and existing state of the art techniques, method and tools
  • Identify follow up actions needed to address these problems (e.g. initiate research, create faq, setup community…)

The session process & timetable

  • 35’ Presentation of the problem (identified challenges)
  • 50’ Workshops organized in groups (mix of problem owners and experts) in which the most relevant challenges will be analyzed and ideas collected in a presentable way
  • 35’ Presentation of the results by different groups

Session Format

workshop, interactive presentation, case study

Intended Audience

e.g. apprentice, journeyman, master We are looking for two sorts of attendants:

  • Problem owners: people who want to or are trying to apply agile in an environment that is not pure software development
  • Experts: people who think they can contribute in creating solutions for identified problems

Benefits of participating

  • Gain insights in difficulties of applying agile in multidisciplinary (or non-software) environments
  • Get an overview of existing state of the art
  • Chance to discuss your problems with the European experts in agile development
  • Become a part of creating solutions for the issues many companies face nowadays
  • Chance to become a part of follow up initiatives


120 minutes

Materials needed

e.g. flip charts, beamer

  • Flip charts + markers
  • Beamer
  • Several round tables (can be formed during the session)

Organizer bio

This session is initiated by Sirris in collaboration with Triphase and Barco Avionics:

  • Sirris is the collective centre of the Belgian technology industry. We advise and support companies on the implementation of technological innovations, enabling them to strengthen their competitive position over the long-term. In the software engineering group of Sirris we use Scrum in a non-conventional way: to organize our diverse and often multi-disciplinary activities internally, and also in some of our collective research projects.

  • Triphase is a Belgian company that provides solutions for the fast realization of complex, high-performance power electronics applications, such as motor drives, power grid control, induction heating, lighting and many more. Triphase sells programmable and user-friendly systems for rapid prototyping of new power electronics applications, ensuring these prototypes can instantly be turned into products. Triphase uses Scrum to get a grip on the planning of the different projects, but the extensive research and prototyping in new developments, and their multi-disciplinary nature are posing challenges in full adoption of Scrum.

  • Barco Avionics is a division of Barco specialized in the development and production of cockpit displays. Due to the extensive regulations and safety aspects that characterize the Avionics world, the introduction of Agile techniques poses specific challenges. Barco will highlight its experiences in the introduction of SCRUM in its software development team and difficulties encountered in introducing SCRUM in the broader realm of hardware and mechanical engineering.

Vladimir Blagojevic
Hans Keppens
Stijn Rameloo
Wim Codenie
Tom Tourwe