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Volkswagen AG and Pivotal partnering on software for networked customers & cars; extreme programming at Digital:Lab in Berlin

Volkswagen Group IT uses agile workstyles and intensive cooperation with universities, technology partners and Volkswagen Group departments to develop digital solutions. At the new Volkswagen Digital:Lab in Berlin, the Group is working on this in a strategic partnership with software developer Pivotal. IT experts from Volkswagen and Pivotal are jointly developing innovative software and mobility solutions for networked customers together with specialists from Technical Development and Sales.

In our Digital:Lab we are working on a digital ecosystem that offers our customers a new user experience, new mobility services and a raft of networked vehicle services”, Volkswagen Group CIO Dr. Martin Hofmann said. “We are creating completely new products for our customers, and are therefore turning Volkswagen from a car manufacturer into a mobility provider.

Hofmann commented that at the same time Volkswagen was establishing new workstyles which are being further developed.

Our IT experts in our labs in Berlin and Munich work the Silicon Valley way, we have brought the Valley to Volkswagen. Pivotal is supporting our experts with over 20 experts from San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado, and is training them in new software development methods. Our aim is to firmly anchor these skills and workstyles in the Group and in Germany. In the medium term, there will be more than 600 programmers, data scientists, design thinking experts and cloud architects working in our labs in Berlin, Munich and San Francisco.

—Dr. Hofmann

Volkswagen and Pivotal are focusing on innovative workstyles for software development. These are based on agile programming techniques such as extreme programming. Extreme programming stresses customer satisfaction, enabling software developers to developers to respond to changing customer requirements, even late in the life cycle.

Extreme Programming improves a software project in five essential ways; communication, simplicity, feedback, respect, and courage. Extreme Programmers constantly communicate with their customers and fellow programmers. They keep their design simple and clean. They get feedback by testing their software starting on day one. They deliver the system to the customers as early as possible and implement changes as suggested. Every small success deepens their respect for the unique contributions of each and every team member. With this foundation Extreme Programmers are able to courageously respond to changing requirements and technology.

For example, software developers work systematically in changing pairs with daily stand-up meetings, regular weekly training sessions and continuous in-team optimization. This partnership fosters exchange and creativity within the teams, reduces the error rate, shortens development processes and allows swifter adjustment in the event of short-term changes in customer wishes.

The Digital:Lab in Berlin is the Volkswagen Group’s advanced software developer. The lab supports projects that go beyond the boundaries of Volkswagen’s existing core business and are designed to open up new business opportunities. The Digital:Lab is developing a digital mobility platform where external partners can dock on to jointly develop software solutions. The lab is also working on a new vehicle control center which collects data on weather, surroundings and traffic from networked vehicles and uses this data to generate early hazard warnings. The Digital:Lab’s first software projects include digital sales support for dealers and a data hub for digital products.

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