What good processes have to do with soccer

September 2, 2020 – Reading time: 7 minutes

When OEMs demand a specific evidence of mature processes from their suppliers, you seldom get a happy look. However, if used properly, customers can benefit from this demand. In this article, we explain how.

Almost every child knows the basic rules of soccer: a team has eleven players. A match lasts 90 minutes. The round thing must go into the square thing. A team consists of eleven players on the field and further team members next to the field. It needs different types of team members, like goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, strikers, coaches and further supporting staff. Playing soccer is quite simple. Playing it successfully, however, is a little more complicated.

To win a game, you need the outstanding performance of a precisely coordinated and trusting team. This requires everyone to know the official rules and internal procedures and processes. In addition, each team member has a clearly communicated and defined role with certain tasks and responsibilities on or offside the field.

Did you notice the similarities between a soccer team and your project team?

Processes help to interact successfully

Everyone should be able to trust each other in their team. They should be able to trust that their teammate will fulfil its task as planned. The striker must rely that the midfielder will pass the ball in the right time and to the right place. The defender must rely on the goalkeeper during a corner. The coach must rely on its team that it will follow the strategy for winning the game.

On the other hand, the players must be able to rely on the coach’s decisions. Only when all these conditions are met, can the team fulfil its purpose by winning the game efficiently and effectively. If your club has more than one team, you can easily swop the members from one team to another – the left defender still defends the left side. He knows that he must do. It does not matter in which team he plays. It only needs small adoptions.

Why process maturity models are no tortures

It is quite similar with processes in business. ASPICE (Automotive Software Process Improvement and Capability DEtermination), for example, is a maturity model that describes the expectations for a reliable development process in the automotive industry. It is not an international standard that has necessarily to be fulfilled for vehicle homologation, nor is it a specific method that dictates every step of the work. It evaluates the used procedures and processes of development work based on proven in use habits, called base and generic practices.

ASPICE is therefore not necessarily extra work. Just as the rules of a soccer game or the trained procedures within a team are not additional expenses. Rather, they determine the «how», the rules of the play. Once these have been internalized, and therefore act naturally, they make the work and interaction easier and more efficient.

In such developing projects, there are many teammates working in and on different projects. Together, they all work for one company on a common goal: they want to develop mature and safe products and services in a highly complex field of technology.

Process compliant development enables companies and their teams to work together on their projects. They help them to act in a coordinated and trusted manner where everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. They ensure that work products handed over from one team member to another have the right inputs ready. Just like when the ball is at the right place at the right time in a soccer game. They ensure that differences in development can be detected and corrected at an early stage.

What processes should ultimately be achieved?

Good processes ensure that all project members are heading towards the same direction. That they deliver safe and high-quality products on the agreed delivery date. And that the knowledge of how they do all this is implemented directly.

Good processes make work easier and reduce overtime. They ensure that everyone knows what their responsibility is and what others can expect from them. Work outcomes are handed over correctly. Faulty or inefficient developments are not only discovered at an advanced stage of development and cannot be corrected at all or only with a maximum of effort.

Processes can be an accelerator for further improvements

Not to forget that our environment is constantly changing, and therefore the circumstances, under which a process takes place, are also changing. In order to be able to work according to the current state of the art, it is necessary to constantly improve the processes. So that not only these, but also the working methods and expertise of each team member become bigger and better. Therefore, a basic must be set with processes.


  • Björn Engelhardt

    Cybersecurity Manager
    Head of Process Consulting

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