Schneider Electric has a long history (more than 175 years). We have been successful in promoting Waterfall process as the only manner to boost innovation and create new products, but also to ensure consistency across all teams (spread in 60 major R&D centers in about 23 countries).
In the last 5 years, a large transition towards solutions and smart products has led to a growing part of our development being dedicated to software (more than 3,000 people worldwide). As a result, a traditional approach was no longer the best solution and it was time to turn towards Agile for efficiency and speed.
At the same time, most of our projects combine hardware and software and Agile itself could not be THE silver bullet.
So the Agile transition team proposed a hybrid framework, combining waterfall for the hardware/system level project management with Agile for the software components.
On the surface, these two methodologies seem conflicted. After an effort to understand the principles and constraints driving each team, we clarified how to collaborate efficiently and synchronize the execution for everyone. The outcome was to transform the initial disconnect into an efficient development machine leveraging the best of both worlds.
The model developed can easily be tailored to many different project environments and in particular for scaling-up with multiple teams working together in parallel.
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