The role of tactics in R&D: Insights from an autonomous car project
Paper in proceedings, 2019
In the pursuit for increasing organizational abilities to respond to external changes, agile is getting traction in the R&D divisions of large hardware-intensive firms. The upsurge in agile transformation programs renders challenges regarding conflicting logics and structures in relation to the legacy plan-driven approach. One of the key ideas of agile is the empowerment of teams. This means that the expectations on teams are changing in terms of what decisions they make and how they make them; and they are expected to take more responsibility for their decisions. In our longitudinal case study of an R&D project at Volvo Car Group that adopted agile, we see that expectations on teams not only include an increase of responsibility
for decision making, they are also expected to make decisions of a different nature than before. We are motivated particularly by the observations that teams need to relate more to strategy and to other internal teams. By using observations from the project that recent shifted to agile development, we argue that tactics as a concept captures the essence of this shift in how teams make decisions.