Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) - Bluefruit Case Study

Fast Facts

Company: Bluefruit Software

Location: Redruth, Cornwall

Budget: £140k

Aims of the KTP

Bluefruit Software is a company that specialises in embedded software development. It was looking to develop a tool that manages medical device standard compliance for agile-style software development. The need for the KTP was to conduct research and gain expertise to analyse the standards and directives that are applicable to medical devices and transpose these in a way that its software engineers can codify. This also needed to be viable with its agile-style software development; previously this would have only been suited to other software development methodologies. Achieving this would give Bluefruit a substantial advantage in the safety-critical software sector.

Outcomes of the KTP

  • Bluefruit can support compliance activities using Lean-Agile software development practices. This was attained by having the KTP associate, rather than a tool, assist in creating processes and practices that are adaptable to the specific compliance demands of individual projects.
  • Bluefruit’s work in the medical device market has risen from 10% to 60%. This was due to new clients and new projects with existing clients.
  • The KTP team has produced one research paper. This paper concerns the challenges of GDPR compliance in agile software development.
  • Beneficial professional relationships have been developed. For example, associate Trudy Ward will work with academic Prof. Andy Phippen on a 2nd research paper and PhD.

How did this KTP work?

Benefits for the company: Bluefruit

Through this KTP, Bluefruit has helped develop pioneering research for their industry, which greatly benefits the business. Bluefruit has demonstrated credibility in working on safety-critical software through the processes and practices it has built, using the learning undertaken throughout the KTP. Bluefruit now has in-house expertise, in the form of Trudy (the KTP associate), which it can continue to incorporate into its work. This gives Bluefruit a strategic advantage as it can utilise this to adhere to the specific compliance needs of each project it works on.

Bluefruit’s work in the medical device market has increased from 10% to 60% and the company has doubled in size in terms of turnover. Bluefruit continues to use information gained through the KTP to pursue new developments and projects for the company’s growth.

Benefits for the academics: Prof. Andy Phippen, Dr. Ismini Vasileiou and Dr. Mohamed Haddoud

“The academic challenge was real and novel - compliance in agile development is novel and not without its challenges” - Prof. Andy Phippen

“KTPs are an excellent opportunity for academics to go out of their comfort zone and get involved with the latest challenges and opportunities created by the industry” - Dr Ismini Vasileiou

This KTP has allowed the academics to develop research that could have an incredible impact on the industry. The academics found this KTP academically stimulating and challenging. They had to solve new and unique issues, such as having to apply agile methods to medical devices. The KTP team has produced a research paper: “The Challenges of GDPR Compliance in Agile Development Approaches”. There is a clear route to another paper, which will be developed by academic Prof. Phippen and associate Trudy Ward after this KTP. Prof. Phippen also utilises this KTP research as an example of the growing need for compliance when teaching modules on university degree programmes.

Benefits for the associate: Trudy Ward

“I have been well supported by my host company, Bluefruit. The learning opportunities offered have been fantastic. It has been a real team effort, with all the stakeholders driving and benefitting from the outcomes” - Trudy Ward

Trudy Ward, a business enterprise graduate, has developed invaluable skills and experience during this KTP. Trudy worked closely with Bluefruit and the academics, while seeking out relevant information to aid her in comprehending and solving the challenges this project presented. She has also built a network of potential collaborators through conference attendances.

Trudy has been offered a permanent position with Bluefruit. Accordingly, she will continue to utilise and develop the knowledge she has gained throughout the KTP. She is keen to ensure Bluefruit continues to evolve as the industry presents new challenges.

Trudy has used her development budget to help fund her PhD programme, attend specialist conferences and have professional coaching.