The recent Invisible Thread blog on ‘ The Mars Climate Orbiter: what, why, and lessons learned ’ made me wonder if we have lost the art of good requirements engineering? Both teams went off to work on their boxes, without worrying too much what was in the other box.
New approaches to development, such as the use of User Stories in Extreme Programming and Agile, or more model based approaches such as Model Driven Software Engineering and the use of SysML... [More]
Built in the mid to late 90’s, the Mars Climate Orbiter was fitted with the most advanced technology of its time, and it featured dual redundant systems and triple redundant software copies! What could possibly go wrong?
It launched in December 1998 - everything was going according to plan. By September 1999, it approached Mars and attempted to go into orbit. Then - poof - it went out of radio contact! Two days later, it was officially declared "lost". The probe ventured too close to Mars, plummeted into its... [More]
Complexity is the biggest challenge in delivering innovative products, systems and applications today. Engineers rely on a wide variety of tools in their daily jobs to deal with this complexity. A couple of these tools are Mathworks Simulink , a very popular tool used to create models of control systems or plants, and IBM Rational Rhapsody , which is used to specify the architecture, design and functionality of these systems. Both of these tools help you to manage complexity by providing a development environment where you can... [More]
If the tool you’re using does not do what you need it to do in the way you were expecting, is the tool bad? Should it be consigned to a shelf to gather dust?
Having worked with software tools for a number of years, I understand that they all have their own personalities and quirks. It is always important for users to be formally trained in the use of the tools they use within their organization; however, in today's business climate not everyone has that luxury.
In this new blog series, I will look... [More]
Have you heard about IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation ? It is the new version of IBM Rational DOORS, which is the requirements management module in the IBM Systems and Software Engineering solution.
If you are already using IBM Rational DOORS , don't get upset over the transition to Rational DOORS Next Generation! This is a transition that does not have to happen all at once and will probably affect clients in many different ways. If you are just beginning to explore Rational DOORS,... [More]
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
Douglas Adams , author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy .
The need for speed in the development lifecycle of a product is no longer just desired; it is essential for organizations to remain competitive. While this approach breeds innovation, it also breeds terror of upcoming deadlines.
When I first started working in the telecommunications industry in the early 1990s, the... [More]
What's next for the first, crucial step in successful product development
We’ve written many times here about the changing nature of the products and systems that we use in our personal and business lives. The increase in software is the invisible thread that is guiding product innovation and connecting a planet of "intelligent" things. We’ve also talked about the increasing complexity of such products and the challenges that multidisciplinary engineering teams... [More]
With the announcement of RELM in September, the growing importance of systems engineering has been a topic of discussion. We sat down with four of our Rational systems experts to answer some common questions about design, agile, modeling and architecture.
Meet the leaders
Dr. Keith Collyer is an expert in Requirements and Systems Engineering. He trained as an electronic engineer, later moving into software development. His interest in the “people” aspects led him into project management, quality assurance and processes, never losing... [More]
Can you believe it? The powerful, tiny device most of us have in our purses or pockets is really just a few years old. Of course we know that, but it’s amazing how quickly the mobile smart phone has expanded beyond its consumer roots to capture the imagination of businesses of every type. And how quickly businesses have seized opportunities to create what Geoffrey Moore calls “systems of engagement,” enhancing their corporate backbones with new mobile applications to support the modern enterprise.
For enterprise IT organizations, the focus... [More]
IBM recently announced the IBM PureData™ System. This is the third member of a powerful family of IBM PureSystems™ that provide incredible flexibility and productivity to businesses. I’m really excited about using these systems to rapidly assemble some pretty amazing and advanced applications.
To better understand what’s going on here, let’s look at a potential scenario. Let’s imagine that we work at a large company that sells office equipment across the planet. We have several existing systems -- many databases, ERP applications, web... [More]
Cast your mind back to (or if you’re young enough, just imagine!) the days before the world wide web. You’re doing some research for studies or your hobby, sitting in a library surrounded by books. You have so many different places to look for information, in lots of different formats, and perhaps your local library doesn’t even have all the sources you need. You have to jump in the car and travel to collate all the necessary input.
Fast forward to the present day, and a web browser is your gateway to a wealth of information. Search... [More]
Mobile Apps: Customer reach and differentiation
Mobile application development is expected to exceed other platforms by 2015 , and today, there are now more than 6.8 million developers worldwide developing wireless applications . Financial Services organizations are finding that these mobile technologies represent an opportunity to extend their customer reach and enhance differentiation . Mobile banking is now used for checking, account transactions, payments, credit applications and other transactions. According to a new research... [More]
Complying with the ISO 26262 standard Automotive software can be thought in terms of three distinct dimensions. The first dimension is the length and complexity of the code. Consider the startling fact that the average automobile has more lines of code than a fighter jet. Further with increasing sophistication of the software modules, software and time to market is often the differentiating factor – the speed of bringing new innovative features to the market establishes the OEM/supplier as the thought leader. The second dimension can be thought... [More]
Why Co-Development? The importance of hardware and software collaboration in building embedded devices (by Martin Bakal) In the past, embedded devices - devices with a processor inside them like automobiles, medical devices, etc., used to treat hardware and software as two parallel development efforts and then solve any incompatibilities during integration. This worked to a large extent because the software was fairly simple and could be modified to work around the defects as well as because development time frames were longer. Those times are... [More]
Creating high quality products has its own significant share of contribution from testing. In a rapidly changing world, organizations have to develop complex products with short development time frames. Coupled with it, if the products are released for end consumers which can range in millions; an organization has to be very careful about the quality of the releases. The paradigm of testing is changing with these challenges and the roles and responsibilities of developers or testers are still evolving. An effective practice is to do the testing... [More]