To solve a problem effectively and efficiently, choosing the right methodology is essential. PA therefore uses a variety of methods and processes during product development – in this context, a product can be either a machine or a service.
The right method for solving the problem on hand
An effective tool to initially assess the complexity of tasks in a project and which methods are going to be expedient is the Stacey-Matrix. The Stacey-Matrix divides problems into four areas based on the volatility of the requirements and the known solution space: simple, complicated, complex and chaotic. Particularly for complicated and complex environments, agile approaches and Design Thinking (DT) are crucial, while evident problems can be solved with lean approaches.
We use lean methods to efficiently deliver the right product when the parameters and quality standards for a product are set. The foundation of these lean solutions is the creation of transparency to uncover problems and understand their causes. On this basis, we then systematically and continuously carry out the improvement process. As a part of our production system, we use tools like value stream analysis to optimize our operations.
If the customer requirements for a product are unstable or the solution is not evident, agile methods are the tools of choice. The agile approach enables products and services to be customized on short notice with mistakes identified early on. The team can work with great efficiency and focus on the aspects most important to the customer. Scrum and Kanban offer possibilities to support agile working. We use these approaches to increase the productivity of our agile-oriented teams and react promptly to changes.
With Design Thinking, we find innovative solutions for complex problems. In doing so, we follow a human-centered approach – the desires and motivations of users need to be identified and understood in order to focus on those aspects when developing solutions. To create a positive User Experience (UX), people from different disciplines work iteratively together in a creativity-enhancing environment. This results in the three “Ps”; the principles of the human-centered design process: people, places and processes.
We face challenges in a cross-functional way and work across disciplines on solutions for our customers. We make sure that, as a team, we have a common understanding on our goals and work together trustfully. Our work approach is constantly human-centered to offer the best possible solution for our customers.
An inspiring work environment helps foster creativity. Our rooms feature flexible designs to encourage collaboration and equally support different activities. Yet such inspiring environments consist not only of the physical spaces, they are also atmospheres where intellectual freedom and a flexible and self-determined way of working is encouraged. After all, creativity is not limited to space. Existing rooms can often be transformed into an environment that supports Design Thinking activities through small and simple changes, which need only be temporary if so required.
Rooms designed to enhance creativity are part of our Design Thinking strategy. An example of this is the “Frei.Raum” in Crailsheim. It is a creative space where employees can be creative on their own or in small groups, facilitated by the modern and open structure and a diverse collection of prototyping materials and brainstorming tools.
Design Thinking relies on the Human-Centered-Design process (HCD). The process begins with the user and employs rapid prototyping to foster learning and concept iteration at an early stage. After an initial planning phase, we visit our customers for observations and interviews in order to determine whether the concepts meet the customers’ needs. An important aspect of the process is that all phases can be repeated, if required. The user is regarded as a third source of innovation in this process, ensuring a holistic iteration between all three dimensions – the user, the market and the technology. The Human Centered Design Process helps us to consider the needs of our users in order to include all three sources in the process and create an optimal user experience.