Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Embedded Software Risk Areas -- Verification & Validation

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 the Verification and Validation red flags:
  • No peer reviews
Code, requirements, design and other documents are not subject to a methodical peer review, or undergo ineffective peer reviews. As a result, most bugs are found late in the development cycle when it is more expensive to fix them.
  • No test plan
Testing is ad hoc, and not according to a defined plan. Typically there is no defined criterion for how much testing is enough. This can result in poor test coverage or an inconsistent depth of testing.
  • No defect tracking
Defects and other issues are not being put into a bug tracking system. This can result in losing track of outstanding bugs and poor prioritization of bug-fixing activities.
  • No stress testing
There is no specific stress testing to ensure that real time scheduling and other aspects of the design can handle worst case expected operating conditions. As a result, products may fail when used for demanding applications.

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