Traceability for Embedded Systems Engineering: The Data Don’t Lie, Pt. III

Counting the Costs of Poor Embedded Systems RM

Marc Oppy | May 31, 2016

Embedded Systems Modern Requirements Management“Significant achievements have transformed human life across a diverse number of sectors (for example Aerospace & Defence, Automotive, Construction, Energy, Transportation, Consumer Electronics, IT, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare and Telecommunications). More recently, the associated systems have grown in terms of their complexity and inter-connectedness. The sheer rate of change and interdependence of these systems is now putting at risk our ability to fully understand and predict their behavior. Exploiting systems engineering and the associated tools/techniques will be crucial if we are to manage future complex systems … Model based systems engineering (MBSE) is a step in this direction but has a long way to go; indeed, very few if any of the MBSE tools provide a completely traceable route through from requirements to implementation.”

Roy S. Kalawsky, “The Next Generation of Grand Challenges for Systems Engineering Research” (Source:

Requirements are fundamentally a means to an end—the things from which great products are born. All roads lead to requirements, but traceability is the map that gets you, as Mr. Kalawsky says, “from requirements to implementation.” Jama sits in the middle of the V model, meaning that within Jama you can use traceability to validate and verify within the Vs of each system, subsystem and subsystems of subsystems. However complex and layered the versions, variants and end products are, traceability is the connecting thread that weaves through everything.

Traceability means different things to different engineering teams. With the exception of teams developing regulated technologies, tracing high-level requirements to low-level requirements often isn’t considered or understood.

This needs more exposure, as the value of traceability is in being able to trace conversations—about trade-offs made, and whether to accept, reject or modify a specific requirement—back to key decisions that provides the missing link. Being able to easily trace through months or years of detailed discussions is what’s lacking in the majority of collaborative engineering efforts.

Embedded systems developers—who must deliver on requirements while juggling multiple interests, competing priorities and numerous constraints—recognize the business value of collaboration. But for many teams that need to partner with business-side stakeholders, collaboration is a recipe for chaos, not order. Critical data and decisions get lost in the review and approval dogpile, and that’s an unacceptable result, particularly for aerospace and defense, automotive, medical device and semiconductor developers.

A united stride toward a shared goal should increase efficiency. But when organizational and product complexity combine, inadequate traceability and collaboration increase opportunities for miscalculations that lead to errors and waste.

See the stats leading analysts say endanger the success of embedded systems engineering projects, and find out how efficient and easy RM traceability can be with a with a free 30-day Jama trial.

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