Applying Scrum in H2-presure vessel development


In a typical R&D project with the purpose to develop a H2 pressure vessel 15 colleagues spreading across 4 different locations are working collaboratively in order to put the production process of the tank prototype to reach the standard of serious production.

The team had to work on different key aspects: The making and finishing of the prototypes, the experiments to test the tank quality, the analysis and evaluation of experiment data, the contact with potential OEMs and the reporting to the internal customers.

The pressure is high for the complexity of the project itself but also the expectation of the executive board. 

Scrum in a hardware development project

The essential of Scrum is to deal complexity with a structured way of communication and collaboration. To achieve this there is a clear role definition for responsibilities and purposes behind. The regular meetings such as planning, daily stand up, review and retrospective reassemble the PDCA-process. The break-down of the long time-span of development into sprints ensures that results could be rationally estimated, planned and achieved in very short iterations.

Key changes since the application

1) The team was invited to travel once a week and meet in a project room to work together under the same roof with a certain predefined daily agenda. This small change affected from the first day on the communication inside of the team: Talks were held face-to-face, number of emails were eliminated, team spirit was strengthened.

2) Daily meetings for the whole team were held in the time-box of 15 minutes. Planning was updated every two weeks and reviews at the end of each sprint. Retrospective was facilitated by the Scrum Master (me) to look back, learn lessons and look forward for improvements.

3) Key members from the executive board were invited to join reviews every two weeks to get the first hand information concerning the development. They also offered support after understanding the challenges in the current development phase.

My job

I was the classical Scrum Master, making sure that the meetings would be held, the planning would be done consequently and the review would be conducted in a simple but clear way.

I observed possible obstacles in the project management, e.g., communication with stakeholders, and facilitate the team to develop functional solutions to remove these obstacles.

I facilitated retrospectives regularly with different formats to help the team by improving their general performance in communication and collaboration.

My goosebump-moments were to hear people sharing with me: Sam, I was sceptical about all the methods and changes you introduced. Now I am totally convinced with what had been introduced and changed.