Optima apprentices have successfully developed a miniature exhibition machine for filling mints as part of an apprentice project using agile work methods. They were supported by a teacher from Schwaebisch Hall Business School as part of the “Lehrkräfte erleben Wirtschaft” (teachers experience economy) project.
“We are proud of our apprentices who have implemented a fantastic project in a very short time within a tight schedule”, says Optima Director Human Resources Sebastian Henke. The project was completed within three months by the apprentices Annika Kroess (industrial management assistant), Martin Wuertemberger (technical product designer) Samuel Fuhrmann (mechatronics engineer), Nick Gaebler (industrial mechanic) and Lorenz Engelhardt (working student). The apprentices met up on a weekly basis, a total of eleven times. Verena Konz from Optima Human Resources Development coordinated the project. Juergen Hoffmann, teacher at Schwaebisch Hall Business School, supported the team as part of the “Lehrkräfte erleben Wirtschaft” project of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Baden-Wuerttemberg in collaboration with the Dieter von Holtzbrinck foundation. During the job shadowing, teachers spend 30 days in a company to be able to make the vocational training even more practice-oriented, based on stimuli from the company.
Apprentices learn agile project management
The aim of the project was to familiarize apprentices with current project management techniques, mechanical engineering technologies and processes in the company – from the customer inquiry to acceptance. This is why the “Scrum” method was used. The team members are assigned defined roles for this. Tasks are split into smaller work packages, which are evaluated after short sprints. In addition to Lego Mindstorms, self-constructed stainless steel and 3D components were used. The apprentices worked closely together with the newly created Optima Additive Innovation Center and manufacturing.
Participants acquire problem-solving competence and understanding of other professions
“Construction steadily made progress during regular meetings. However, we were constantly faced with new challenges, which could not be considered before. At these points, we quickly found new solutions thanks to an agile mindset. All project participants were able to experience the complexity and everyday practice firsthand”, reports Verena Konz. Additionally, the participants developed a holistic understanding of the internal processes and the demands on other professions in the company. The machine simulates the filling and packaging process to interested parties at vocational training exhibitions.