Image Attribute: Volkswagen Digital Lab Berlin, IT experts from Volkswagen are working new mobility services as well as networked vehicle services. / Source: Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen Group IT is breaking new ground in recruitment and collaboration. Both are to be even more individually tailored to the dynamics in the software sector. Group IT is taking its orientation from recruiting methods and project work at Silicon Valley start-ups. One of the new forms of collaboration is pair programming ("pairing"), which is already being used at Volkswagen Group IT's Digital Lab in Berlin.
Dr. Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group, said: "The digital transformation gives us the opportunity to make workflows and processes in IT even faster and more efficient. This is why we are establishing forms of collaboration that foster even greater agility and creativity. Pair programming is an excellent match for that."
Pair programming is an agile technique whereby software developers, designers, and architects at Volkswagen develop the same project content by systematically working together at one workstation. This fosters creativity and increases quality, and it also means both are kept updated on the project's current progress, approaches, and open issues. Sharing knowledge in this way speeds up project development and enables swifter adaptation if customer requirements change at short notice. At the Digital Lab in Berlin, for example, Volkswagen collaborates closely in this manner with the U.S. software specialist Pivotal.
Openings for new forms of collaboration in the IT core organization are now also being explored. As Hofmann commented, "Wolfsburg is the nerve center of Group IT. That is where our competence center is located, where our top specialists work and where our know-how is concentrated. We are now combining the know-how from our core organization with the specialization at our labs. We are looking for ways to blend new work models we test in our labs with the proven processes in our core organization."
Volkswagen is also using pair programming in the recruitment of qualified IT graduates. The international candidates are fully integrated into a project and spend several days collaborating with a Volkswagen employee in Berlin – the first step towards getting to know the team. Susanne Schäfer, Head of HR Group IT and Organizational Development, explains that "anyone who wants to recruit the best IT specialists must be prepared to break new ground in recruiting processes. That is exactly what we are doing at Volkswagen. Our candidates want to show us what they are capable of and that is what we want to see. Pairing gives them an excellent opportunity during the recruiting phase to present their expertise, their communication skills and their ability to work in a team. Pairing up during the application phase early on in the recruitment process is trust-building and helps both sides to reach a decision more quickly."
The Volkswagen Group labs are IT development centers with a start-up format. They provide the environment to experiment with new technologies outside of the line organization. The labs receive financial support from the innovation fund for the Volkswagen brand, a joint initiative of the company and the Works Council. The innovation fund supports projects going beyond Volkswagen's previous core business.