Here at FormWerk we’ve been hitting some limits lately. You know how it goes: with workload increasing, things get messy and frustration sometimes reaches ‘Danger’ levels. So recently we all sat down and figured out organizational as well as individual ways to do double the work in half the time, while feeling happier and more motivated. After all, that’s the famous punch line of the SCRUM “promise”, right? Consequently, we are now making key changes in our organization.

However, this blog is intended to give you a different perspective on the SCRUM topic. It’s about how 3D printing and design for additive manufacturing can become a powerful toolset for super agile and lean hardware development.

During a 2-to-4-week SCRUM sprint, a development team designs, builds, tests AND deploys an incrementally improved part, assembly or subassembly of a given prototype. That means that within half a year, you can easily develop 5 to 10 fully functional iterations of the same part!

Iterations can be driven by light weighting, functional integration, integration of mechatronics and sensors. The idea is you start with a simple design and it gets incrementally better along the way, whatever the optimization goal may be.

Of course, a well-functioning workshop with CNCs, laser cutters and welding gear is needed to deliver parts as quickly as possible. But the truth is, I could hardly imagine a workshop without one or more 3D printers. If you want to design and manufacture a product in a correct but also fast way, 3D printing is the answer, whether it’s plastic parts, metal parts or a PCB board with a new layout. In our opinion, nowadays, there is no better way to develop extreme hardware than with the help of 3D printers. As with many other applications/frameworks, 3D printers may not take center stage but are certainly unique facilitators for a grander purpose.

If series production makes use of the same (or, ideally, even better) 3D printers as hardware development, you can constantly implement every successful SCRUM sprint result into the running production line, without having to wait for a new product model or model upgrade.

Robots like 3D printers can become what compilers are in software development – the fields of work SCRUM was initially created for. It’s transcendence from the virtual into the material world. Same skillset, but a different one-trick pony: the 3D printer.

If you liked this topic and are interested in learning more about it, please search for case studies where the SCRUM framework has been used for hardware development.

Companies like Tesla and SpaceX are organized entirely based on SCRUM /Agile for hardware/software, so have a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5c5KzpamiM

Also, there’s a cool case study for the development of the SAAB Gripen Fighter Plane at: https://www.scruminc.com/scrum-military-aviation/

Enjoy!