As if my Job Isn’t Hard Enough!

Embedded systems and software engineers lag information technology (IT) professionals in the use of formal requirements-management tools across the development cycle, VDC Research Group in Natick, Mass., reveals in its new report on requirements management and definition tools.

More than 40 percent of embedded engineers surveyed do not use formal tools for various requirements engineering tasks. Enterprise/IT software engineers, however, reported “higher use saturation than those embedded engineers who do employ these tools,” according to VDC Research.

“Despite the high level of complexity in today’s embedded systems, embedded engineers have fallen behind enterprise/IT software developers in the use of requirements management and definition tools,” explains Chris Rommel, senior analyst of VDC Research’s Embedded Software and Tools practice. “But we are already seeing this dynamic change as more embedded engineering organizations look for ways to address the growth in device software complexity and maintain and improve engineering efficiency and product quality.”

Much has changed, and with it also the roles of embedded systems engineers and the development process. So, too, have regulations and requirements grown, especially in the military & aerospace (mil/aero) industry.

Embedded systems and software engineers traditionally “had discrete roles focused on specific engineering tasks that subsequently required the use of point products targeted at specific engineering problems,” a VDC Research representative describes. Today, engineers working on embedded systems are increasingly being called upon to perform myriad (if not all) functions in the end-to-end product development lifecycle. As a result, and exacerbated by the hefty fines being levied on those not complying with regulations and requirements, engineers are increasingly reliant upon comprehensive software tools—tailored not only to system design and development, but also to systems testing and validation, as well as requirements management.

frustrated-designer

If you’re not already using such tools, be certain to look into Mentor Graphics’ SystemVision and BridgePoint, enabling model-driven systems development, and ReqTracer, which automates requirements tracking and reporting.

This geek has been down this road many times, implementing a wide range of ERP, PLM, PDM, or myriad other acronyms used to describe requirement, resource, data, or product management suites. It is inevitable in our world of increasing complexities that software of this nature is required to 1) enable us to produce and provide consistent, error-free, and reliable products and services, and 2) helps us keep our sanity (opposed to having to track and check millions of lines of code, for example). Forward-thinking companies such as Mentor Graphics offer unique, innovative, and often automated tools that are always on the cutting edge so we can continue to do and focus on what we do best: design and offer unparalleled products and services as we careen into the future on this little rock we call Earth.

2010 Software & System Lifecycle Management Tools Market Intelligence Service, Volume 3: Requirements Management & Definition Tools” is now available for purchase from VDC Research Group.  http://www.vdcresearch.com

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Posted April 27th, 2011, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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