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Solution Brief

Agile gets you airborne faster

Reading time: 4 minutes


Aerospace and defense companies are benefiting from a shift in thinking and a move toward a more agile development approach. By connecting engineering disciplines, the benefits of better collaboration are being uncovered. But only slightly.

Even as companies find ways to do more with fewer engineers, there are still fundamental flaws that must be addressed to remain competitive. This executive brief illustrates how integrated engineering teams' benefits are limited by disparate software systems and how to overcome this challenge.

Siloed systems or specialized software could mean generic results

Despite integrating engineering teams at aerospace and defense companies, the software systems in use remain too specialized. The collaborative efforts have seen tremendous gains by joining individual engineering disciplines – electrical, mechanical, and software. But, each piece of niche software produces results in its own language. That means manually translating that information into a language common to the entire project. This extra step may require specialists and can have a detrimental effect on engineer's ability to innovate to realize better, more cost-effective designs.

The digital twin enables agile in aircraft development

Companies most successful at slashing time to market, avoiding cost overruns, and, perhaps most importantly, produce consistently high-quality new products are ones who have migrated to an agile development approach. By adopting agile development methodology, engineering teams deliver small portions of a project at regular intervals and evaluate both the design quality and the interactions with other systems in the total project. More regular evaluations, which a comprehensive digital twin supports, result in the flexibility to make changes on the fly and avoid significant rework at the conclusion of a project, multiplying costs by up to 30 times.

Startups have proven agile product development is worth the investment

Software engineers pioneered agile development, but its iterative approach has proven beneficial within all engineering disciplines across many industries. Aerospace and defense companies are witnessing the emergence of agile at startups who are now threatening the traditional leaders' market share.

Small startups have the advantage of being able to adopt an agile framework from the get-go. Larger companies wanting to stave off these new industry players' threats may require changes to company culture and training programs. It also means moving to a model-based systems engineering approach in a fully integrated software environment. Siemens' toolsets offer the flexibility and visibility to support a successful digital transformation.