What is Agile Product Development?

Agile Product Development refers to creating products with Agile processes and techniques. We refer here specifically to hardware products, software products, or any combination of the two. Yes, the two have clear distinctions, but when it comes down to it, hardware contains software and software is embedded in hardware. It’s about time that we align our organizational approach to optimize the production of both. It’s about time that we start addressing Agile Product Development, in lieu of Agile Software Development. It’s about time that we start talking Agile Hardware.


For many large enterprises, the alignment of hardware- and software-development processes is critical in managing a stable Agile environment. Increased visibility, predictability and responding quickly to business changes are also critical. For historical reasons, Agile has been used mostly for software, but that does not have to be the case. We have found that the benefits of Agile are not only achieved in software development, but in hardware development as well. Or, in other words, Agile can be done in, and is valuable to, hardware development.


So what is the focus of Agile Product Development?


Hardware Products

• Deliverables oriented towards developing specifications for a product to be manufactured

• Example: Vacuum cleaner


Software Products

• Deliverables oriented towards building the actual product

• Example: Word processor, online store

Hardware with Embedded Software

• Both varieties, but embedded software may evolve within the bounds of a static hardware environment

• Example: Cell phone, network equipment, analytical equipment for chemistry and biotech

Hardware with Associated Software

• Both varieties, but associated software may evolve over time, and may support multiple devices

• Example: Laboratory equipment plus locally-hosted or Web-based software to control multiple devices

Does your organization deliver products that fall under any of these categories? Are you taking full advantage of what Agile can do for your product development? Learn more about Agile Product Development and Agile Hardware here.