“Our engineers stumbled on SAFe – and they made it their own.” Jan Vencken, Signify

Lighting brand Signify is big in hardware and software development – understandably so, considering recent software-heavy innovations in lighting solutions. Inevitably, sensible practices from one development type creep into the other at the company. Hence the recent embrace of SAFe by an ambitious group of hardware engineers, and an upcoming presentation that’s bound to raise a few eyebrows.


Agile Coach Joris van Doorn is happy to bring along electrical engineer Jan Vencken from Signify development team based out of Dallas, Texas: “I was asked to visit the team to introduce the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Shortly before arrival though, I learned that these weren’t software developers at all – they were hardware engineers! Electrical, mechanical, optical; you name it. But hardly any coding.”


Entertainment lighting for concert and theaters

The team belongs to Signify’s Entertainment business group, which develops lighting for concerts and theaters. “We quickly tailored the session, tweaking aspects of SAFe to better fit the team’s context and desires. They jumped at the opportunity, intuitively choosing to adapt Sprint planning to fit around their lead times, for example.


A showcase for Agile hardware development

Having been educated as engineers, the whole philosophy of working Agile was new – the profession is used to design blueprints: exhaustive requirements documentation that covers everything pixel-perfectly. But this team enthusiastically took to embracing not just SAFe, but Agile approaches in general: iterative design, rapid prototyping using 3D-printing, multidisciplinary teams… It’s been a wild ride so far, but very satisfying – and it’s becoming a success story we use to inspire others at Signify.”


Meet Jan Vencken and Joris van Doorn

The upcoming Gladwell Academy event Agile for Hardware on July 2nd will feature a strong line-up of pioneering agents from various hardware industries, with industry champions such as Signify, ASML and Lockheed Martin attending. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to reserve your seat here to attend!


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