Modified Agile for Hardware Development

Agile for physical products requires modification of software agile methods to meet the more constrained characteristics of hardware development.   The table below summarizes the differences between the Modified Agile for Hardware Development (MAHD) Framework and the common Scrum-based software agile process.  The primary differences are how projects get initiated and the use of two levels of iterations to drive key prototype and other development milestones.

The MAHD Framework - Click to Enlarge

Scrum for SW

User Stories

Can be translated directly into features and backlog tasks

Provide customer requirements, typically cannot be translated directly into tasks


List of user stories, technical stories and epics - updated and prioritized each sprint

List of tasks derived from MAHD On-ramp planning - updated and prioritized each sprint


1-4 week sprints, each with code releases that can be demonstrated and tested

2-8 week sprints grouped into whole product iterations to drive prototype and other milestones


Working software that can be tested with direct user interaction

Working prototypes that show demonstrable output for technical and user validation

Focus Matrix

Not used

A crucial planning tool to determine iterations, dependencies and prototype plans


Typically a SW-oriented product owner

Typically a market-oriented product manager


Working software

Demonstrable physical or virtual prototype


Defined by user stories

Defined by user stories, product attributes, constraints and design targets

Process Owner

Scrum master

Agile Project Manager

Team Orientation

SW Teams

Cross-functional, cross-discipline teams