On Interaction between Manufacturing and Development Organizations in Automotive Software Engineering
Licentiate thesis, 2008
As most future automotive innovations will be realized with software, the automotive industry is facing a transition from mechanical to software engineering. This evolution is pressing the automotive industry to elaborate appropriate processes for the development of
software based systems.
The involvement of manufacturing engineering in development processes has consequently become imperative since the increase in software based systems implies a
greater number of product variants and a higher degree of complexity to be managed in the manufacturing processes.
This thesis presents a study whose overall purpose was to gain a better understanding of the interaction between the organizations for product development and manufacturing,
specifically focusing on the development of software based systems in the automotive industry. The content of this work is based on empirical research, a review of pertinent
literature and an analysis of the empirical results and related literature. To obtain a better understanding of the area of interest from the point of view of practitioners, empirical field studies were undertaken at two Swedish automotive companies using a case study strategy with an explorative purpose. The objective of the literature review was to enhance the understanding of the phenomena investigated by using complementary perspectives found in related literature. Finally, links between the results of the empirical research and appropriate concepts and theories were established and analyzed, which have resulted in recommendations.
The empirical field studies resulted in a number of challenging findings that set the outline
for future in-depth research in the area of interest and may serve as input for improvements of associated activities in the studied organizations. Furthermore, a
majority of the findings were supported by data sources from both of the studied cases, which indicates a possibility to generalize the results to the automotive domain. Finally, the methodology used can be useful to other organizations that are interested in founding
their development of work practice on empirically observed findings.
The literature review pointed out that a common view among researchers is that the automotive industry aims to simultaneously achieve product differentiation in a broad
market and cost leadership by adopting a lean approach to production and product development. The analyses indicated that it was possible to establish linkages between
problems that were identified and lean principles and practices, thus leading to a framework composed of feasible recommendations for the deployment of improvements. Consequently, an overall conclusion in this thesis is that it is useful to adopt a lean approach in the area of interest since it seems to constitute an appropriate foundation for remedial measure
Multiple Case Study
Empirical Software Engineering