Behind every new product, version and variant delay or failure are engineering teams and stakeholders suffering through poorly managed requirements. Bad requirements management is usually the result of disorganized, unstructured communication between product planners, stakeholders and engineers.
The greatest risks occur when changes are made, as embedded systems designs are increasingly complex, particularly for aerospace and defense, automotive, medical device and semiconductor engineering companies.
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Finding the requirements management sweet spot was a topic of discussion at our “How to Write Good Requirements” presentation in Santa Clara. At the core, good requirements need to be concise, specific and parametric, and should answer the question, “What do we need?” rather than, “How do we fulfill a need?”
The answer to the former question tends to get lost in the process, however.
In his book, “What Every Engineer Should Know About Developing Real-Time Embedded Products,” author Kim R. Fowler explains why:
“Many problems arise because the requirements are either too sparse or too complex. Either situation leads to unforeseen problems and unpredictable interactions later in product development when change is much more difficult. Obviously, sparse requirements leave out important concerns, which lead to unexpected problems. On the other hand, complex requirements can ‘overspecify’ a product, which leads to unforeseen interactions that cause problems.”
Compounding the above problems: As embedded systems’ capabilities evolve, requirements engineering and management methods stay frozen in time, holding up team progress.
The enemies of progress are easy to identify: Bloated, user-unfriendly legacy RM methods and inadequate, inflexible, featherweight solutions that can’t manage the scope, alignment, traceability and communication needs of fast-moving teams.
If you can’t count on traceable requirements definition, engineering and management at the start and throughout each iteration, you’ll need a microscope to find success in the resulting mess.
Scan this infographic for the numbers leading technology analysts say matter most for embedded systems product development. And if your teams’ numbers aren’t showing progress, experience how agile requirements management can be with a free, 30-day Jama trial.