Design Con 2015

Survey: Embedded design teams understaffed and late

Rick Merritt

April 03, 2014

Rick MerrittApril 03, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. — If your team is understaffed and your project is running late, you're not alone. Embedded design teams are getting a little smaller and slipping schedules more often, according to a new study.

Respondents said 41% of all embedded design projects finished ahead of or on schedule and 59% were late or canceled. That's slightly worse than the previous four years during which 42% to 44% of projects were on or ahead of schedule, according to the 2014 Embedded Design Study, conducted by UBM Tech, the publisher of EE Times.

More projects are running late...
More projects are running late...

One factor for the sked slips is embedded design teams declined to an average 14 people, down from 14.6 in last year's survey. In addition, one of the few areas respondents they said they would like to improve about their design teams is the overall engineering skill level, according to the study released at the annual EE Live! event here.

...while the size of design teams shrinks a bit.
...while the size of design teams shrinks a bit.

Perhaps to speed things along they are increasingly using open-source operating systems with Android and FreeeRTOS their top choices. For the first time in the survey's history, open-source OSs outpaced commercial OSs with use of open-source rising to 36% and commercial OSs falling to 33%.

The annual study takes a broad look at market and tech trends in embedded systems design. A total of 2,258 engineers responded to the latest survey conducted online January 18 through February 21, giving a 2% confidence level for most questions.

Most respondents (55%) were from North America, with 22% in Europe and 14% in Asia. They came from a wide range of sectors including industrial (33%), consumer electronics (24), communications (22), automotive (18) and medical (18) among many others.

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