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White Paper

Agile engineering in aerospace drives productivity

Reading time: 15 minutes


The US Department of Defense is pushing for faster development and more innovation. Simultaneously, requirements are swelling in number and complexity. With these conflicting pressures hitting the Aerospace and Defense industry, changes to traditional thoughts and processes are needed. One of the biggest barriers hindering speed and innovation is the waterfall approach, where large chunks of a project get completed in sequence. While this method has been reliable for ensuring quality and meeting requirements, there is another way equally reliable but maximizes agility while minimizing risk. In this white paper, CIMdata dissects the agile approach to expose how the iterative method fosters speed and innovation within A&D companies.

Agile product development across A&D development teams

A&D companies that integrated development teams likely achieved a marked improvement over previously disconnected electrical, mechanical, and software silos. While previously disjointed teams may work well together, the data produced by their software tools probably does not. Incompatible data that requires manual translation introduces needless risks, and automated translators can strip robust information down to its most basic form. When this happens, innovation and informed decision-making suffer, and agile development's full benefit cannot be realized. By starting software tools that integrate at the most core level, the agile approach shines brightest. When all data speaks the same language and runs through a single source of truth, program managers, engineers, and other stakeholders maintain real-time visibility into project status. Without the all-or-nothing pressures of waterfall delivery, engineers can innovate by exploring design iterations without adding time to the project.

Benefits of integrated simulation tools

Well-established companies that are slow to adapt to the changes demanded by customers and regulatory bodies are creating an opening for new, more nimble competition to grab up market share. Many of these new players in the industry were founded on principles that avoid work silos and incorporate agile methodology from the start. Without self-imposed roadblocks, these companies are poised for speed when getting new products to market. By adopting similar strategies focused on agility and speed, large companies can build stronger reputations while being looked to as leaders pushing the industry forward. More importantly, embracing the agile approach means better products, fewer risks, and more satisfied customers.

Siemens Xcelerator platform

As explained in this CIMdata white paper, adopting specific tools that form a digital thread, such as those in Siemens' Xcelerator portfolio, A&D companies are capable of maximizing agility and minimizing risk, all the while reaching previously unknown development efficiency with the agile approach. Furthermore, with seamless integration between engineering tools, project management solutions, business data, and entire BOMs, the A&D industry will be in the best starting position to respond to the growing demand to do more in less time.