Paradigm Change – Delivering Value in Real Time

This work package provides approaches, methods, and tools for quickly and inexpensively designing, creating, and empirically evaluating mockups or prototypes of new products and services, including software intensive systems (SiS) and hardware-based products. The intention is to enable potential customers to evaluate these products before the company invests heavily in actual development.

The work package provides technical infrastructure (workflows, tool-chains, platforms, etc.), work processes, and capabilities, that will allow organizations to deliver new products and product features significantly faster, without compromising quality or user experience.

    The work package

  • applies and empirically evaluates techniques, tools, methods, and processes in multiple companies from various industry sectors
  • empirically evaluates the developed technology with respect to increasing delivery and deployment speed
  • changes the mindset to “going-beyond-the-ordinary” ways of working
  • develops the capability of conducting simple, cost-efficient experiments

Research areas

Tools that Support Real-time Value Delivery

This topic focuses on flexible software development, hardware/software product and system architecture, development methods, and the tools and work processes that will enable engineers to provide new value to customers in significantly less time. These architectures, methods, tools, tool-chains, and workflows enable engineers to design, implement, integrate, and deploy new features and products with minimal extra effort. They also minimize downtime or user inconvenience when features of existing products and services are added or removed. Features can be selected and configured at run-time, allowing an organization to offer customized products and services to different customers without overhead. Hardware revisions and modifications can be performed with minimal change to product architecture and product structure (ERP) or software. These tools support the rapid development of minimally viable products and services rapidly, using ready-made templates and components. Efficient empirical and experimental approaches are developed and supported in system architecture and development tools and tool-chains, for example, in the form of easily replaceable features for A/B testing, measurement collection, and reporting.

Continuous Integration and Deployment for Real Time Value Delivery

The high speed of future development and deployment requires, in turn, methods and tools that reduce the time needed to build, test, and remove defects from new versions of software or hardware systems. Research on methods for continuous integration with fast delivery and deployment is needed in order to build such organizational capabilities, which require the mastery of test automation, meeting the architectural challenges of creating necessary flexibility, and feature management practices for maintaining the dynamically evolving product offering. Development and build times can be improved with processes that increase integration of methods and tools. Test effort and time can be reduced by automating test generation and test result interpretation; using distributed testing and incremental testing approaches that only test what has changed from the previous version; and using prediction models as recommendation systems that focus testing efforts cost-effectively.

Some organizations are currently capable of deploying several versions of a system in a single day. However, this is still not the norm for many organizations in Finland or for certain domains, such as embedded systems. The program will also explore the use of crowdsourcing in quality assurance, for example, to obtain feedback from users about their experience with a new version. Organizations must also assess whether continuous deployment is a suitable business model for them.

In hardware/software development, end-products combine elements from different disciplines, e.g., mechanics, electronics, and software. Continuous deployment requires, therefore, that these components be developed and integrated in a highly synchronous process that uses the best principles of development. There is a need for a better understanding of the applicability of continuous development and deployment methods to different kinds of products within each discipline and—perhaps even more importantly—for products combining components from several disciplines.

It is important to understand the boundaries, potential limitations, and most importantly the characteristics of products, companies and other contextual parameters that offer the best opportunities for fast deployment capabilities. Furthermore, it is important to optimize prototyping hardware with respect to maturity, sample size, prototype rounds within a project, and cost, based on lean principles. Advanced analytical models are needed to analyze all the above factors in order to both ensure that quality, manufacturing, and supply performance requirements are met, and minimize time, the number of prototype rounds per project, and associated costs.

Value-Driven Product and Service Design and Quality Assurance within Real-Time Economy

Real-time value delivery requires that the whole product and service design process to be value-driven. Lean thinking provides a sound basis for value-driven development. However, significant advances in lean development are required to facilitate real-time experimental value delivery and tight integration with business. The approaches need to support scalable development models as well as close collaboration with partners in dynamic ecosystems. Traditional quality assurance methods are not enough in real-time value delivery: new analytical methods and testing techniques are needed, and must be an integral part of the development process. Value-driven development that is tightly integrated with new quality assurance methods will provide the foundation for lean real-time value delivery.