“SAFe helps to fail-fast-learn-faster in hardware development.”-Tanya Kudchadker, ASML

The experienced ASML Agilists Tanya Kudchadker and Wendy Versteeg are presenting together at the Agile for Hardware event. Here, they prelude on their contribution: applying Agile ways of working to the development of hugely complex lithography machines that cost billions to make.


The lithography giant ASML builds tools crucial for semiconductor production: robotized, mobile assembly lines that produce fully formed silicon chips. Because semiconductors are feats of nanotechnology where billions of transistors fit on single unit, conditions inside the machine are tuned to values of almost infinite precision. Sterility, temperature, machine levelling: everything for a flawless production micro-environment.


The RTE and the PO

This is where Tanya and Wendy do their Agile work: with Tanya as the RTE for ASML’s Machine Conditioning ART, and Wendy as Product Owner for team DAMn, which builds the lithography machine’s water management functions. “We called it ‘DAM’ to illustrate that we control water, but the additional ‘n’ hints at what you might say when a problem occurs,” Wendy jokes.


Contribution to Agile for Hardware

Wendy and Tanya are hesitant to shed too much light on their contribution as yet, preferring to keep the details for showtime. Tanya: “We’re just not too keen on giving our work too big a stage; everybody’s watching so ASML prefers a low profile. But we’re going to give visitors an insight into how we’ve tackled the dilemma of ‘vertical slicing’ – a well-known issue in the Agile approach. For our kind of product it’s quite the challenge as well: at first sight it seems you can’t slice properly: everything must seemingly progress simultaneously in order to function. But we’ve managed, and I think our progress here can help other developers facing a similar challenge.”


Escalation: BAU

The two Agilists look forward to contributing to Agile for Hardware, as well as to seeing Agility make its way into the hardware development domain in general. “Markets these days evolve rapidly, and ours is not different: our clients’ demands change often. When they do, we need to shift priorities and that usually involves some degree of escalation.”

Though Agile frameworks such as SAFe are far from perfect for hardware development, and though the shift away from waterfall planning is substantial, it is more Agile, Tanya says: “With its subordination of Epics, Features and User Stories it invites the kinds of discussion that you need to have in order to prioritize rationally.”

Meet Tanya and Wendy in person

Pioneers like Tanya Kudchadker and Wendy Versteeg are coming to Agile for Hardware on July 2nd. Gain inspiration from them and from other original thinkers in various hardware industries such as NXP and Signify. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to reserve your seat here  to attend!




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