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Berlin to go, english edition, 01/2017

  • Text
  • Berlin
  • Digital
  • Startup
  • Startups
  • Digitization
  • Mobility
  • Innovation
  • Innovative

DISCUSSION AGILE

DISCUSSION AGILE THINKING FOR OUR MOBILE FUTURE Interview: Ines Hein Photos: Volkswagen AG Stefan Gotthardt, ambassador at Volks wagen Digital:Lab, talks about agile software development for the future of mobility and how synergies are experienced and fostered in the lab MR GOTTHARDT, VOLKSWA- GEN DIGITAL:LAB OPENED ITS DOORS IN BERLIN IN MID-2015. WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO? SG: As the Volkswagen Group’s IT, we cooperate with our internal brand partners to develop software relating to issues of future mobility. We work to create mobility services and a digital ecosystem for our end customers together with the US software specialists at Pivotal Labs, whose best practices we adapt in agile collaboration. HOW EXACTLY DOES THIS WORK? SG: The spectrum ranges from smartphone apps and web-app hybrids, for example, in the field of intelligent auto maintenance, to intermodal traffic concepts and sharable services, such as central digital IDs for our customers. WHAT DOES YOUR WORK LOOK LIKE? SG: We currently have a team of 50 people from 14 countries. We’re proud to have a high proportion of women, almost 30%. Each of our teams is responsible for their own software product. There are three fixed roles in each team: product manager, designer and software developer. One of the core methods of our cooperation is the “partnering” of two colleagues to create a mirrored, double workstation, ideally in a 1:1 relationship, that is, one of our own people together with someone from Pivotal. WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TANDEM SOLU TION? SG: It fosters learning and creativity and increases quality. Plus, both partners stay informed about current advancements, possible solutions and outstanding questions in the project. By sharing knowledge, we’re able to speed up project development and enable quick adjustments. WHY DID THE VW GROUP OPEN ITS DIGITAL:LAB IN BERLIN? SG: Berlin is Europe’s startup and tech metropolis. The city attracts talent thanks to its entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re able to directly access that talent here on site. Digitization is posing major challenges to industrial corporations. Old and established processes and structures have to be rethought and redefined in order to keep up. Thanks to the Digital:Lab, the IT team at Volkswagen Group has been well-prepared for this from the very beginning. Our team tries out actual work performance, but 12

also new forms of cooperation, new team structures and new paths to optimal solutions that can often provide meaningful sources of inspiration to the core organization. WHAT IS YOUR ROLE ON THE TEAM? SG: Our bosses, Peter Garzarella and Jochen Scherl, knew from the start that someone was going to have to take care of communicating our goals and learnings, promoting and networking the lab and handling the recruiting. This is how my job came to be. With the help of Berlin Partner, I was able to build contacts quite early to existing networks, for example, to universities, other corporates and established institutions, such as media.net brandenburg. Today, we benefit from an exciting exchange with several actors in the capital region. AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MISSION? SG: I’m passionate about the subject of agility! What we experience here is that it’s entirely possible to approach a task in unconventional ways and still arrive at effective results that are optimal for clients. We just need to stay open and leave room for criticism, even personal critique. But this only works when you have a team that feels connected at eye level. And this is exactly what we’ve accomplished here. THANK YOU FOR TALKING TO US, WE WISH YOU CON- TINUED SUCCESS. Stefan Gotthardt Studied corporate communications, psychology and media studies (M.A.). He started working for Volkswagen AG in 2011 and has been head of business development at the Digital:Lab in Berlin since 2015. 13

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