Editor's Commentary: Software problems are also software opportunities - Embedded.com

Editor’s Commentary: Software problems are also software opportunities

TheToyotahardware and software quality problem is still verymuch on everyone's mind, now that NASA has beencalled in to look at the Toyota issue and National Academy ofSciences has been assigned to look at the problem of “unintendedaccelleration” across all vehichles.

However, problems are also opportunities, if not for Toyota, atleast to the rest of the industry, especially embedded systems design,especially if it makes everyone stop and re-evaluate the tools andmethods they employ to assess and ensure the quality and reliability ofthe software code they produce.

Recently, in “The Non-quality revolution,”Jack Ganssle made the point that “if a nation (or perhaps even acompany) starts a software quality revolution, like Japan, they willcorner the market for their products.”

The big question facing embedded systems developers, then, is howto achieve that necessary software quality? One possibility Jack hasbrought up repeatedly in his columns is the use of Agile software development methods.Check Ganssle's Theuse of Agile ,” “Software for dependablesystems,” “Skip debugging to speed delivery,”andmany othercolumns .

According Bruce Powel Douglass, author of The basics of beingAgile in a real time embedded systems environment,” Agilemethods are nothing more than common sense combined with intense effortand rigorous attention applied to software development and entirelycompatible with existing techniques.

For more on this methodology read: Embedded Agile: Acase study in numbers,” by Nancy Van Schooenderwoert and Usingstatic code analysis for Agile software development,” byAndrew Yang. Other recent topics on Embedded.com have included: Agile coding conventions,Agiledocumentation strategies, using Agile for onlinecollaboration, theimportance of code inspections and reviews, Agile best practicesand configuration/changemanagement.

If after reading these and other contributions on the topic, you areconvinced your company should adopt Agile methods, you should also readPitching Agile toSenior Management,” and 10 mistakes to avoidin transitioning to Agile.” (BernardCole, Embedded.com Editor, bccole@acm.org )

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.