Monday, October 18, 2010

Embedded Project Risk Areas -- Development Process Part 2

Series Intro: this is one of a series of posts summarizing the different red flag areas I've encountered in more than a decade of doing design reviews of industry embedded system software projects. You can read more about the study here. If one of these bullets applies to your project, you should consider whether that presents undue risk to project success (whether it does or not depends upon your specific project and goals). The results of this study inspired the chapters in my book.

Here are some of the Development Process red flags (part 2 of 2):
  • High requirements churn
Functionality required of the product changes so fast the software developers can’t keep up. This is likely to lead to missed deadlines and can result in developer burnout.
  • No SQA function
Nobody is formally assigned to perform an SQA function, so there is a risk that processes (however light or heavy they might be) aren’t being followed effectively regardless of the good intentions of the development team. Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is, in essence, ensuring that the developers are following the development process they are supposed to be following. If SQA is ineffective, it is possible (and in my experience likely) that some time spent on testing, design reviews, and other techniques to improve quality is also ineffective.
  • No mechanism to capture technical and non-technical project lessons learned
There is no methodical effort to identify technical, process, and management problems encountered during the course of the project so that the causes of these problems can be corrected. As a result, mistakes are repeated in future projects.

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