Tag Archive for: innovation

As part of an ongoing series, we’re looking at insights and trends uncovered within the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study, “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design.”

Product development is already a stressful endeavor. For companies focused on merging hardware and software into smart products, it’s only getting more intense.

According to the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report, “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design,” nearly 90% of companies are either adding or planning to implement digital technologies to their products.

Given the new process and competitive landscape, 80% of those same businesses say they’re feeling extra time-to-market pressure. Not only that, but an even larger majority (89%) believes the strain will only grow in severity.

“There is pressure to always innovate and create the next generation version of your product,” Jama Software’s vice president of product, Jennifer Jaffe, says. “Sitting in that market is, by definition, a very uncomfortable place— specifically for a lot of companies who have been around a long time and who didn’t used to have all these pressures.”

Driving business concerns are fears of disruption. From cell phones to taxis, home energy management to automobiles, it can feel like no industry is immune to being blindsided by new technology. While companies can’t stop a savvy new competitor gunning for their position, how they innovate in response is crucial.

Software vs. Hardware

Traditional product companies are used to building hardware. When you add software development to the mix, there needs to be some alterations to the process.

That’s why one of the biggest priorities for businesses adding digital technologies to their products should be creating a plan to integrate the hardware and software teams. To do this, businesses must have a firm understanding of their existing development process, its necessary documentation, and logical gaps.

They’ll also need to recognize that software developers and traditional hardware developers work very differently. Figuring out how to unify these two practices, so they’re operating in tandem and not as opposing forces, is key. One of the best ways to do that is by having a method facilitating open communication and accountability.

“Most critical is having real time transparent communication, so that when things change on the software or the hardware side, all parties are informed and can adapt,” Jaffe says. “Without that collaboration, the two teams run the risk of working in isolation and developing products that are incompatible with each other.”

When to Innovate

Another area to consider when moving to connected products is not trying to start from scratch with every release. If a strong hardware platform has already been built, for instance, it makes sense to reuse it. Then, you can focus on incremental gains that can be handled in software updates.

“The more you can put the heavy lift of innovation on the software side,” Jaffe says, “The more likely you are to be able to respond quickly and create lots of different, compelling variants of your product’s experience — and do it as cheaply as possible.”

In that case, the product management team can set about envisioning the requirements of the future and brainstorm all the different use cases for the coming years. For instance, maybe that means creating hardware that can scale to accommodate a heaver usage on processing or memory. Then, looking ahead, if 80%-to-90% of the hardware requirements will basically remain unchanged, the development team can really be pushed to innovate on that extra 10%-to-20% of a new product.

This is also where a product development platform can really give developers an edge. With a simple, efficient solution for saving and reusing your hardware requirements, teams can focus on innovating iteratively.

That’s also why more than half of the companies going digital are partnering with software or other companies to assist with the digital transformation, according to “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design.”

What to Focus On

Today’s market is driven by consumer choice. Whether we’re talking about watches or coffee makers, customers have high expectations from products, and there’s a heavy push to constantly move forward. When one company’s product family goes smart, it almost feels inevitable competitors will too.

So businesses must listen to their customers to develop requirements. “The companies that are getting disrupted are oftentimes legacy companies whose business model, technical model, or both, don’t support newer methods for developing products,” Jaffe says. “And, specific to this idea of building to customer requirements, they’re companies that don’t have specific practices or tools to bring customer requirements to the forefront when they’re defining their product.”

Before production, then, companies should be putting prototype ideas in front of consumers for feedback on usability and value. And then running those customer requirements past engineers to sift through what’s feasible. Also, ensuring the requirements are documented in a clear way will keep various teams aligned throughout the process.

Moving Forward

All these shifts and crunches can significantly rattle a traditional product company not used to dealing with them. Keeping your team laser-focused on the evolving process will guide it to success.

“You have to prioritize the work that’s being done by your product development team and then not allow additional scope to creep in,” Jaffe says. “You really have to be judicious about the decisions you make, about what to prioritize, what to work on, and make conscious decisions to say no to projects that aren’t priority one for your development team.”

One thing that titans of any product category should avoid is kicking back with the belief that their winning days will be endless.

“A new, fresh company can come in today without all the legacy of old development practices, of old expectations of what it meant to serve a market,” Jaffe says. “Not only can they be more nimble and receptive on the technology front, but frankly, as a business, they can pivot quickly in the face of shifting consumer demand. That’s how they roll.”

Get a deeper look into the pressures driving companies to develop connected products with our report, “Bridging The Gap In Digital Product Design,” featuring insights from nearly 300 innovators from a variety of industries, including manufacturing, technology, healthcare, financial services, and more.

On today’s fast moving road to innovation requirements management can feel like a burdensome, yet necessary evil. For those of you who manage requirements with spreadsheets, word docs and power point, this process can feel even more unwieldy. Possibly worse? Using a heavy-handed tool like DOORS that adds extra overhead and requires additional skillsets for an already complex process. As products get smarter and connected, requirements management will only become more necessary. But it doesn’t need to be evil.

How? One way is by making sure everyone is working from the same, up-to-date information. Doing so lessens the burdens around requirements reviews. You can eliminate the waiting for the necessary stakeholders to provide input, or give approval. Teams can understand change as it happens, and analyze the up- or downstream impact of that change BEFORE change happens.

Why does it matter? The increased burden of regulations and compliance adds additional overhead to the product development process. Especially in the automotive industry where we are seeing rapid growth and leaps in innovation.  Organizations who haven’t had to confront functional safety standards are having to learn regulatory standards, like ISO 26262, on the fly without missing deadlines or features to deliver on time for their customer.

Part of that additional overhead comes from how these teams are managing requirements and tracing validation & verification back to their requirements. Often times teams retroactively trace their data. With a solution like Jama you can pre-build your relationships, so traceability is automated, reducing the manual effort associated with building your traceability, and reducing your regulatory overhead in the process.

Bonus points for using a “fit for purpose” certified solution. A certified solution reduces the manual effort associated with validating your process for ISO 26262 Certification. As AFuzion CEO Vance Hilderman states: “Products labeled ‘safety-critical’ used to be a small niche, but today almost all devices are critical, with many requiring adherence to certification standards…We need to validate and qualify not just the software we build for our client but our development tools as well,” Read more about the Jama Validation and Software Compliance Kit.

In the end, the “old” way of working doesn’t fit the direction of the industry. Legacy tools and manual processes can’t keep up with market demands. You have too much to do to rely on an outdated way of working. If a modern requirements management solution can help you ease regulatory burdens by streamlining traceability, resulting in a more connected way of working that helps you understand the impact of change and can also provide a platform to shorten the requirements review process, isn’t that worth considering?

See Jama in action today! Check out our completely free 30-day Jama trial.


Last summer, Pokémon GO erupted onto the scene becoming an overnight phenomenon. At the same time, it introduced the world to the concept of Augmented Reality… the blending of digital content with the real world.

Mixing digital information with the physical world isn’t entirely new. Many cars today have a Heads Up Display (HUD) that shows the driver speed and navigation information up on the front windshield. This technology is poised to grow rapidly over the next few years… moving far beyond the windshield. Soon, eyewear will become widely available that perfectly embeds digital content on top of the real world.

The most advanced augmented reality system in existence today is the pilot helmet for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. Costing nearly a half million dollars each, this helmet gives the pilot near super human abilities. For example, in addition to seeing all of the needed flight information, using the advanced cameras embedded all around the aircraft, the pilot can zoom, can see in the dark, the helmet even makes the aircraft appear invisible… if the pilot looks down he is presented video of the scene below.

Fortunately, this technology is beginning to become available even to us civilians. Microsoft has their HoloLens device, Epson has Moverio, and MagicLeap has teased the market with their impressive concepts. Industry experts predict that we sit on the verge of an explosion of such devices. Analysts at Goldman Sachs see the market for growing to somewhere over $50 billion within the next eight years.

One look at a group of people staring intently at their 5 inch phone screen will provide a clue as to why pundits are so bullish on this segment.

Businesses will be the first to identify the value of augmented reality and will purchase entire fleets of these devices for workers. Here’s a scenario. An air conditioning repair person needs to fix a broken hose, but is unfamiliar with a new model she is looking at. Instead of returning to the truck to find the specification book for this particular model, she looks at the model number and asks her augmented reality headset to query the database for the plans on this model. A camera in the headset captures the model number and searches a database in the cloud for the information. A second later, a detailed schematic is downloaded into the headset. The technician sees the digital schematic drawn on top of the actual system. The headset then draws an arrow to the first screw to be removed. Each step of the repair is illustrated for the technician until the hose is replaced quickly and efficiently.

This synthesis of digital information with the real world will provide each of us super human type abilities. Imagine walking into a job interview with a person
you’ve never met. Your eyewear takes a photo of the interviewer, queries the cloud, and instantly presents you important and relevant facts about him or her from their LinkedIn profile.

Professional applications will take off first, but soon augmented reality will enter our homes as well. Consider a loved one living across the country appearing as if she was sitting on the chair across from you. Not a small video screen of your loved one… a full three dimensional likeness of her sitting in the room with you. Or, a game where alien robots were crashing through your walls attacking you from all directions.

This ubiquitous access to information may sound like science fiction, but one just needs to remember that smart phones only became available a decade ago, and look how far they have come in that time. Ten years from now will the phone be relegated to the museum in favor smart, voice activated, augmented reality eyewear? Time will tell.


“The health industry will continue to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions in 2017, but the new year also likely will bring an uptick in alternative transactions, such as joint ventures, partnerships, strategic alliances and clinical affiliations.” Top health industry issues of 2017 PwC

Innovations in the medical device industry are often not created within one team. Increasingly teams are augmented with many different types of players through contract manufactures or acquisitions or even strategic alliances. The benefits of collaboration are rarely lost on industry leaders. Bringing together innovators to create a new way of doing things can revolutionize a sector, but without the correct support and infrastructure collaborations often fail.

Collaborating across cultures, institutional and geographical, adds unique challenges with each group having their own standards and entrenched ways of doing things. How do teams cross these divides? Unified goals, clear expectations, unique points of view are a great place to start, but also having the right tools makes overcoming the challenges of modern collaboration possible.

Unified Goal: When cross-organizational teams have a clear and unified goal for developing a product, innovation or service, they can better overcome the challenges inherent with collaborating in a complex environment. Having the shared vision makes the unity worthwhile.

Clear Roles: Clearly communicating the expectations of how and when each member of the team will be asked to participate helps alleviate the uncertainty of collaborating in a new way. Documenting the goals and setting, communicating and tracking of the collaboration help keep programs moving forward smoothly.

Unique points of view: Unlocking the creativity needed for innovation requires harnessing the insights and unique understanding across different stakeholders. Bringing unique points of view will result in more robust and better considered ideas for implementation. Having representation from across the team will help better asses the impacts of decisions and can help identify issues before they become problems.

The Right Tools: As teams seek input and feedback, tools like Jama Software are critical in capturing these insights in real-time. With everyone having the most up-to-date information, reviews can be streamlined and allow for more clear communication to what is expected by who and by when. This helps reduce complexity of communication and save time by having a single place to provide input. The teams have a single source for collaboration regardless of geographic or institutional location, which enables collaboration across a variety of relationships. Suppliers can have clients directly involved in reviews for input and progress checks or academia can collaborate with industry partners so communication can maintain an even pace despite cultural differences. Having a single platform where these teams can come together to innovate, review and connect will keep programs on track, teams collaborating and not let insights slip through cracks.

People working together is at the very core of all product development work. The ability to collaborate is critical for innovation. For companies or academia to turn the research of today into the products of tomorrow, it is critical that teams stay connected and synchronized.


There is a global trend toward sharing things, collaborative consumption. Home sharing through AirBnB is now a $2.5 billion business. There are pleasure boat sharing businesses, co-working office spaces, and of course vehicle sharing services.   Consumers are driving the variety and velocity of these changes and putting added pressure on companies to improve their speed-to-market.  Enterprise teams need to collaborate more effectively and coordinate their activities more seamlessly for companies to ride these trends successfully.

Take the automotive industry, which arguably is going through its biggest changes since the introduction of the assembly line.

Changes coming to the automotive industry.

We tend to take the status of private cars as a given, but technology is unleashing important changes in the automotive marketplace. Product-service hybrids like mobility-as-a-service are about to appear on the streets.  According to the Boston Consulting Group, in five years, 35 million people globally will be using ride-sharing services, up from 5.8 million now.  That means 550,000 fewer cars sold each year than normal.  (Portland Press Herald, May 16, 2016)

On the positive side, the accelerating push of the auto market toward mobility-as-a-service is predicted to create up to $1.5 trillion worth of new auto industry revenue in that same time frame, from on-demand mobility and data driven services.  Though vehicle sales may take a hit, actual car usage will increase because people who don’t own cars will begin using them as an extension of the rapid transit system.   Not surprisingly, OEMs are beginning to compensate for vehicle sales losses by investing in car share businesses. This kind of investment can bring new car designs that improve car share operations, fuel consumption, and emissions reduction.

So Daimler has MyTaxi.  Toyota has a strategic arrangement with Uber. General Motors is working with Lyft. Tesla is not to be outdone with their vision of a fleet of fully autonomous MaaS cars all over the globe that can be summoned by a smartphone application.

Another big change is the car-sharing model. The Ford Motor Company is currently testing a car sharing program that helps people rent out cars they purchased from the automaker to prescreened customers, as a way of defraying the cost of vehicle maintenance. The trial is inviting 14,000 new car purchasers in the U.S. and 12,000 in London to sign up for the Peer-2-Peers Car Sharing option in the U.S. or the easyCar Club in London to rent their new vehicles to pre-screened drivers for short-term use.

Ford CEO, Mark Fields, says the financial case for investing in the mobility space is too compelling to ignore.  He points out that global revenue at traditional automakers totals $2.3 trillion a year, while the transportation business, including taxis, buses and car-sharing, is worth $5.4 trillion.” This is why Fields says, “We want to transform, fundamentally, the relationship between an automaker and a customer.”   (Portand Press Herald, May 16, 2016)

A study by McKinsey & Company  last year predicted major changes in the design of cars to begin soon.  Software competence is increasingly becoming one of the most important differentiating factors in the industry, for domain areas including active safety, connectivity, and infotainment.  Adding that as vehicles are further integrated into the “connected world,” OEMs will be forced to participate in the new mobility ecosystems that emerge as a result of technology and consumer trends.

OEMS are also getting more concerned about the overall customer experience they deliver, from the sales process, to the vehicle experience, to customer service, and so on.  They are eager to stay engaged with the customer over the long term.  For instance, the aim of the FordPass mobility program, launched this past April, is to keep contact with the customer by helping with his ongoing mobility needs.  A vehicle sale isn’t the immediate goal, but it may be down the road, no pun intended.  “We are investing in future-proofing,” says Elana Ford, who is the great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford and who led the development of FordPass. (Portland Press Herald, May 16, 2016)  As Ford says, “People spend about 4.5 hours per year in a dealership, but they spend 900 hours per year being mobile.  So how can we have an ongoing dialogue?”

What are the implications?

The marketplace is moving very fast.  OEMs are not accustomed to having to move that quickly.  They are not nimble technology start-ups like Uber.  They operate on medium to long term cycles (e.g., 5+ years to bring on a new car model).  But now to succeed they have to be more agile and efficient. Their customers are not patient, but will flock to the company that can fulfill their needs the fastest.

So OEMs need to learn how to prototype rapidly and to collaborate across functions to get their products to market quickly.  This requires coordination, which is often hard for them.  They also need to comply with company and industry standards, institute faster testing cycles, and incorporate customer feedback into their product strategies.  They need software to streamline and improve workflow processes.  With the right technical tools, they will not only survive these momentous shifts, but be the ultimate winners.

 To learn more about how Jama provides better, faster product definition, change management and functional safety verification for automotive providers, please visit  https://www.jamasoftware.com/solutions/automotive/.


A few weeks ago I had a friend Grace reach out to me and ask me if I could speak to my experience with the DevOps movement from an engineering management perspective. Grace is one of the organizers of the Portland DevOps Groundup meetup group. Their goal is to educate others and discuss topics having to do with DevOps. I agreed to speak as well as host the event at Jama (one of the very cool things that we do as an organization is to host such community events).

Grace asking me to speak was timely as I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about the culture of DevOps and how it is applied here at Jama.

The term DevOps did not use to be widely known, now it has become a fairly common term. With that wide adoption also comes misuse and misunderstanding. People are using the term for all sorts of things as well as it being buzzword for catchall job titles. To me, DevOps is all about collaboration, communication and integration. I titled my talk “DevOps is dead, long live DevOps” on purpose to gain a reaction from people (which I definitely did get reactions from some of the recruiters in attendance). My point in picking that title was that the term has become diluted and misused and is becoming irrelevant.


I focused my talk on my personal history in software development coming from an operations background. I’m no expert, this was just me sharing my experiences as a manager of technical people and how I’ve tried to build highly collaborative teams that enjoy working together and solving tough problems. I really enjoyed being able to share three separate work experiences with a large group of people and discuss how I’ve learned from each job and applied those learnings in an effort to improve upon the process each time. I spoke at length to my most current experience here at Jama and how we are working as a group to better integrate the practices and principals of DevOps into all of engineering instead of it being a single team called “DevOps” that is tasked with the work. This cultural shift is starting to happen and that is a good thing for all of Jama engineering.


I spoke for the better part of an hour and received some really thoughtful questions at the end of the talk around how people can work to affect change in culture and gain business adoption of these practices. DevOps in some ways is still mysterious for people or they think of it only in terms of tools and technologies, my hope is that my talk made it less of a mystery and starting more people thinking in terms of collaboration, communication and integration across the company culture.

Detroit, MI — April 12, 2016 —Jama Software –a product-development solution for automotive component suppliers developing complex systems— today announced at the 2016 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress, a partnership with an internationally recognized ISO 26262 testing body to obtain ISO 26262 “Fit-for-Purpose” certification.
Accreditation for the Jama solution will give automotive OEM and suppliers assurance that the workflows they follow to define, build and test automotive related products in the Jama solution meet critical functional safety requirements.
The company will also host a display booth (Booth 525) to demonstrate how its core functionality, including traceability, requirements verification and validation, and change management, can be easily configured to meet functional safety standards and processes including ISO 26262 and SPICE. As part of its tooling for safety-critical development, the Jama solution will continue to deliver a comprehensive tool for auditable traceability across developments phases.
“There’s pressure across the automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) and supplier ecosystem to address this challenge of increased complexity along with functional safety. They don’t want lose their competitive advantage so they are seeking modern solutions that are both innovative and certified” said Derywn Harris, Jama Director of Product Marketing and co-founder.
The ISO 26262 standard has requirements that are challenging to interpret and implement. As a requirements management tool vendor, Jama pursued functional safety certification to instill confidence in its users that the software won’t introduce problems when developing to this standard.
“Certification implies a certain rigor in our own process along with additional documentation that we are satisfied will help automotive customers reduce risk of liability,” said Harris. “Too often, traceability is an afterthought, to be completed in hindsight after project completion. With Jama, companies can avoid that via built-in attention to process, decision making and change analysis in real time.”
Interested in learning more about Jama? Try it for free.

The following is an excerpt from our whitepaper: Better, Smarter Faster: Accelerating Innovation Across The Enterprise.

Finding the right product delivery solution isn’t easy—there are a lot of different features to take into account. However, many innovative companies are finding that there are several key elements to look for in order to choose a solution that can power effective products—and empower efficient teams.

When considering a solution for your business, here are five key questions to ask:

Does it enable collaborative, reusable requirements management?

When you have a robust solution for requirements management and end- to-end product delivery, it’s possible to build highly complex products faster. The ability to reuse requirements can also help you reduce risk and control costs.

Can the solution provide comprehensive testing features?

In order to ensure test coverage and improve quality, it’s important to be able to link test cases to requirements, run test plans and
log related defects—while maintaining real- time visibility into overall product quality.

Will the solution support the diverse needs of multiple industries?

Every industry has its own set of challenges. This is true whether it’s a question of regulatory compliance and security for financial services, government or health care, or the need to handle massively complex products, as is the case for aerospace, software or telecommunications. The right solution must be flexible as well as customizable enough to meet the needs of every type of organization.

Does the solution easily connect the right people with right data?

It takes integrated, structured collaboration to give everyone the kind of comprehensive insights they need—in real time—so they can understand what their teams are building and why.

Are robust two-way integrations fundamental to the solution?

Bi-directional data sharing is powerful enabler to faster delivery and increased innovation, especially when you can connect to commonly used solutions such as JIRA, Rally and HP Quality Center.

Download the complete whitepaper now: Better, Smarter Faster: Accelerating Innovation Across The EnterpriseRead the first parts: The New Economic Reality,  Competition in Global Markets and Competition is Heating Up.