The Volkswagen Way of Digitization – is this engineering at its best?

Volkswagen’s IT department expands its know-how in the development of digital customer services: by considerably enlarging the “Digital Lab” in Berlin, Germany, and doubling the number of employees since opening the lab in october 2016.

By now, 70 IT-specialists work there, and 50 more are to join the team soon; specialists such as programmers, data scientists, software designers and developers. The Digital Lab is a hub for software making possible new services coming with the connected car. It’s part of a worldwide network of competence centres of the VW Group, pushing the company’s commitment towards all digital future issues.

An international team developing software for digital customer services

Software for digital customer services and the connected car is developed in the digital lab. An example is the new mobility service “We Deliver” by the Volkswagen brand, transforming the car’s trunk into a storage room for delivered online orders. Also, the lab is giving birth to technical platform solutions made available for all of the group’s brands and companies.


Further projects are focussing on processing public traffic data for new smart mobility concepts. The IT-specialists come from 16 different nations, inter alia from Inda, Singapur, Ukraine, the US, and of course Germany. Nearly one third of the team are women.

Agile working method „Extreme Programming”

The specialists work in accordance with “Extreme Programming” (XP), an agile working method from the Scilicon Valley tech-scene. This method of software development is focussed on the principle of evolution: the software is not being developed as the complex, final product, but rather gradually advanced and tested in the agile teams that are in close contact with the product owner. This ecnourages quality and creativity and makes quick adjustment possible when needed.

Programmers in the Volkswagen Lab always work in a team of two. (Image: YouTube / Volkswagen Group)
Programmers in the Volkswagen Lab always work in a team of two. (Image: YouTube / Volkswagen Group)

The funding for the lab was to a big extend granted by the “Volkswagen Innovationsfonds”, a common initiative of management and works council. VW is not alone enrolling such an initiative: Ford is running a “Research and Innovation Center” in Palo Alto since 2015, where Audi is present with an “Electronic Research Lab”, too, and also other main industry players consciously try to proactively deal with the digital transformation.

This article is based on a press release of the Volkswagen Group.

Image Source: Jens Oellermann / Volkswagen