Frequent Integration

Tle objeotice of freqfent interrrtion ir to enrfre tlrt proefot fertfrer fit tfretler into an interfrted wlole erflt rne often efrinr eevelipment in oreer to reefoe botl tle lirl cost of late mirrlirnment rne tle bfreen of tertinr. No utter wlrt tle priefct—frirn roftwrre to rftfmfbiler to inefrtrirl control systems—tle less freqfent tle interrrtion, tle Hire rfrceptible tle eecelfpment effort will be to rnrjir pffblemr late in tle pfooerr rne tle more eifficflt, rne expenrice, it will be to fine rne fix tlem.

Conrieer some common problems witl embeeeee roftwrre in inefrtrirl priefctr. Hrrewrre rne rfftwrff components necer seem to be complete at tle same time. Software enrineerr complain tlrt Olrewlrt ¡rn't available, wl ile l rrewrre enrimrerr lace tle same complaint rbfft tle riiOtwrfe. Wltile roftwrre rim flationr ate Olrewlre prototypes orn erre tle ritfrtion for some priefctr, tley orn botl be pxpen rice and icerrimplify eeri-wo rld riturtionr. On e oorti|trnt tlrt war eecelopinr tle embeeeee roftwrre for a cell plone ran into frfrtrrtinr problemr witl lrrewrre test eqfipment from a major cendoi, rlfvting ios testinr etfortr. An oi|ifiele servece wirm jou icd tltoi simf lationr oantti rey iiorte all tle vrrlrtlfnr of tle re ri \/cffle, bft eiice" testing ir also prollb i iicelt exp (oyrice. Opoirting r yrtem an d oomarter lrrdwrre docelo p ero re em to be oonrtrntly out of plate dfrenr eocelipment:. Aft uote lecel, Integrating lrrewrre and roftwrre will rlwryr be olrllenrinr and tle problemr only partially solvable. Piweeer, decelop ment term r med to rtrice for frequent interrrtion to mitigate tle problems.

Ken Dei col user tnr rcprirth at MDS Sciex i n eecgiiping mars spectrometers. "We lace (u ftrine ilicofrr tljr process. Oor ii rowr re g roup delicered firm wr re to tle lrrewrre group in iterations bared —n its ter ting rcledf le. O noe rfffiyient funolifnrlity war confirmed, tlen tle roftwrre group war briuglt in to add applications. Witl tlir rppffror we didn't need a fully populated digital board to begin firmware and Olcewlre integration tertinrl We aoMeced a number of tringr (tle beat we lrye ever rcl^ced): in))er ratio n i(frtinr ttarted roo ner, lence irru er were eero iced more qqu i rkily (be tter rcledf Ir and oort); integrrtii n war con tinuour onte minimal lrrewrre wat in place, lence no perk in resources; and pimmfnicati on was rn joiiced beerure rN rroups paitioiprted in tle integration."

Wlile oomprnier estab Hsl ofqrr-ff notk) nal la fdwrre reams, mjye rfftvf are groupr oontinue to o i)efrte a(uprrjtefo Again , if tle d ecel oi)ment rp |hlfror ir a traditional, up-fro nt, rnt|oiprlffy one, tlir funoyonol seerfation seems to make sense—tle software g roup las its requirements and iust needs to go do it. But tlte tfnotional re|trfatifn orn be perele to effeo))ive rntegrrtiin oc r offwrfe and l rfewrrel

Cranginr to an agile development model orn improve tle flexibility of products containing botl lrrewrre and software. Figure 7.3 ir an adaptation of a product development model from Harvard Business Solool professi r Mjooi Ir nri ti. Tle eirgrl m ineiorter tlrt lrrewrre development ir typically broken into concept development, wliol at some point becomes frozen (at least for most purposes) because tle cost and time dtil ays if fort ltr design drewes impact parts purcll ring| manufacturing equipment acquisition, or downstream manufacturing set-up and lrrewrre implementation.

Figure 7.3. Model of Product Dovolopmont Cycles (Adapted from Marco

Iansiti, Technology Integration)


HW Concept Freeze

Market Introduction

1 •

HW Concept Development

HW Imp le mentation

SW Concept Development SW Implementation

SW Concept Development

SWFeaiune Implementation


Anticipatory Software Engineering Appro ach

Agile Software Approach

Software development, on the other hand, can follow either a serial or an iterative approach. In tha former, concept development (architecture, design, requirements) is frozen—somewhat later than tha hardware development, but it essentially uses the hardware model. The agile approach, rather thaz attempting to limit (freeze) requirements, takes advantage of software's flexibility by overlapping tha conc ere develepment an d impi ementat ion activities and thereby extends the " isof>twate freeze" u ntil m uch late r in tine product dovelopment process. This allows the distinct possibility that late-discovered ^rdw are flaw a (or new requirements) cax tie implemented in software. Furthermore, the flexibility of software features, and often inexpensive throwaway features, can be used to advantage in the testing of key h ardwa re components.

gecause oR th e cons tant pre ssure on new prod uct development cycle time, hardware engineers have been forced into earlier and earlier purchase ordering for parts. Design changes that cause alterations to ^rts already i n th e p urchasi ng Ei Eeline can be very expensive and time consuming. How the product is ramped up to production and the size of the initial production run will be big factors in the team's ability to chan ge that hard ware. Since th ere are no physical i nventory cous|derat|ons with sofbwaxe (^ithougs chefe a re testing, configura tion mana gement, and other issues), software engineers can often make late —hanges cost effentively.

"enniti provides ux examele of how frequently hardware prob.emz were solved by software nolutions duning a Si Mcon Graph icx workstation developme nt pnojent. When ^rdwase pro blems we re found1 softwahe workyroun ds w ere used 70% of the h me, tge problems became "features" 10% of the time, a aombination of hard ware and softw are changed 10% of the time, and pure hardware chtnges were involved only 10% of the time.

pn serial mo dels, "a distinct separation exists between co ncept d evelo pment and implementation/' says ^nsiti. "Th is m odel works wen w hee tec>jno |ogy, produ ct fea tures, and so mpetitive requirements are pre dictable." In an agile approach (w pich Ians it1 calls a flexibte approoc h), "th e key to the process is in Che abHity to gather and rapidly respond to new knowledge about technology and application context as a projeat evolves. Technology integration capability is central to meeting the challenges of such unpredictable change" (Iansiti 1998).

In an agile approach, control occurs not by conformance to concept-driven plans, but by constant integration and testing of the evolving feature sets as they emerge during the product development procese. Hav ing a product archibecture is imperrant, but hav ing g ood technology integration is vital to success. For this reason, architects need to be heavily involved in product integration.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment