New process boosts productivity, reduces defects, and simplifies compliance.
Compared to its traditional legacy development process, the early indications are that CMC’s new modeldriven, object-oriented approach is faster, more efficient, and delivers higher-quality results.
“Our legacy code-base is large and very complex, so some of the improvement can be attributed to the fact that modern, object-oriented code is cleaner and easier to manage,” says Martin Gagnon. “But better tools make a big difference too.
“For example, it is easier to identify and eliminate defects earlier in the development process, because we can use simulations to test new components even if other dependent components are not available.
“Equally, it is much easier to develop reusable and portable components. We were able to port one component onto a new platform in two weeks – which was a significant breakthrough, and something we had never been able to achieve before.”
Ronald Houde adds: “Some of the engineers working on the pilot project were object-oriented programming specialists, not FMS specialists. We were concerned at first that their lack of FMS experience would hold them back – but Rhapsody makes it so easy to understand how the architecture works and what the requirements are, that they were able to start working productively very quickly.”
In general, CMC has seen a marked improvement in productivity, which it measures in lines of code generated per person-hour.
In part, this productivity gain is connected to another of the advantages of the new process: the fact that automatic end-to-end traceability is built into the toolset, rather than being a separate manual workflow that distracts engineers from their core development and testing tasks.
“Traceability is critical for safe development that complies with aviation industry standards, as well as for ensuring a high-quality product with zero defects,” comments Ronald Houde.
“We showed one of our customers a demo of the traceability features of the new process, and they were very happy with what they saw. The scope for human error is completely removed, and many hours are saved by eliminating the task of updating traceability spreadsheets and producing compliance reports.”
Martin Gagnon concludes: “As we build our next generation of flight management systems, the ability to develop more portable, reusable components quickly, efficiently and safely will become more and more important, and will help with our Product Line Engineering vision.
“The work that we have done with IBM so far suggests that with IBM Rational Rhapsody, we are heading in the right direction.”
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