Dependable systems design with Agile - Embedded.com

Dependable systems design with Agile

In his recent April 1st column on “Hogwarts School of Software Engineering, ” Jack Ganssle has some fun with author J.K. Rowlings’ fictional school of magicians. In it, after the evil wizard Voldemort abandons spells and incantations and learns how to program, he hacks in and crashes the the entire British economy.

In reaction to this security breach, Hogwarts’ headmaster Severus Snape revamps the entire curriculum to focus on training its would-be wizards and sorcerers in software engineering.  While counteracting Valdemort’s security hacks is the initial focus of the newly named school, Jack quotes Snape as muttering morosely: “We're facing a software crisis. The need for software far outstrips the industry's ability to create it. The only possible solution is magic .”

Jack, of course, has a serious point behind his tongue-in-cheek riff: given the challenges of more powerful computers, more complex applications and the ubiquity of embedded systems in our lives, he believes that software programming has to become “software engineering, ” And has he has pointed out in many previous columns, the only way to do that is through the adoption of less ad-hoc and more disciplined approaches to code development such as Agile methods and test driven development.

If you want to learn more about the magic of Agile software development, and do not have the time or the spell-making skills to gain entry into Hogwarts, the next best alternative is to register to attend the ESC DESIGN Wes t , April 22-25, in San Jose, Ca.

[ Clickhere to register for DESIGN West 2013 , April 22-25 at the San JoseMcEnery Convention Center. Options range from an All-Access Pass — whichincludes Black Hat (security) Conference Session to Free Expo Admission].

After you register to attend the three day conference you will find almost a dozen Agile development related classes, including:

1 – Three in-depth presentations by James Grenning on Agile Embedded Software Development; Agile Requirements, Estimation and Planning; and Hands-on Test Driven Development in C .

2 – Two classes by Bruce Powel Douglass on Top Ten Mistakes of Agile Embedded Projects (and how you can avoid them ) and Requirements Management for Embedded Systems .

3 – A series of classes by various presenters from IBM’s Rational Software on Agile for Safety Critical Systems , covering such areas as Design Practices, Analysis Practices, Evidence-Oriented Practices, and Quality Assurance Practices .

4 – Two classes by Robert Oshana on “Software performance engineering,” and “A Rigorous but Practical Specification Technique for Embedded Systems.”

As you will note in the Embedded Agile Collection, many of these presenters have written on such topics for Embedded.com over the past decade or so. Some of the more recent and relevant articles are included in this week’s Embedded Tech Focus newsletter on “Give your designs the Agile magic.”

Other Embedded.com papers and presentations I think will expand your knowledge of the software “magic” needed to take on the complex embedded systems challenges ahead include:

Creating the Agile High-Tech Enterprise
Agile Techniques for Embedded Systems
Ten steps to better requirements management
An Innovative Approach to Managing Software Requirements
An Integrated Approach to Requirements and Quality Management

But remember: as the students at Hogwarts have already learned about magic, doing what it takes to become a disciplined and rigorous software engineer requires hard work and hard study.

Embedded.com Site Editor Bernard Cole is also editor of the twice-a-week Embedded.com newsletters as well as a partner in the TechRite Associates editorial services consultancy. He welcomes your feedback. Send an email to , or call 928-525-9087.

See more articles and column like this one on Embedded.com.Sign up for the Embedded.com newsletters . Copyright © 2013 UBM–All rights reserved.

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