7 key factors to fix for accelerated Embedded System Development

 Chirag Thumar
  Aug 08, 2017

With cutting edge technology, comes time-to-market pressure

With the embedded systems set to grow over 5.6% in the next 6 years, it is necessary to evaluate the present state of development, and take measures to boost quality and security of the applications.

As device connectivity increases and new technologies crop up to cater to these devices, embedded developers are under immense pressure to provide the latest features and maximum functionalities in the embedded apps. This increases the complexity of planning and development of the product.

The herculean task of delivering embedded apps within short deadlines and with optimum security at the lowest possible costs falls upon the unsuspecting developers who are just looking to improve their skillets by working on cutting edge embedded technologies.

Challenges in providing quality embedded systems applications within time

When the team is pressurized to deliver within unreasonable constraints of time and budget, developers are subjected to huge stress that leads to burnout resulting in a host of human errors or poor code quality in the applications.

Hence, the biggest challenge in embedded systems development today is to address the time-to-market reduction while maintaining the quality of the application thus ensuring a win-win for both, the enterprises and the developers.

Let’s take an objective look at the factors affecting the development at present, and what can be done to mitigate the problems arising from them.

1. Need for better debugging tools:

While there is a plethora of available development technologies for embedded systems, very few of them address the need for debugging during development and in testing. If the developers are provided with the right debugging suite, half of the development time will be reduced, and the quality of first-time application builds will also improve.

2. No time to upgrade individual skill set:

As the unnatural work schedules affect the thinking abilities of the developers, most of them compromise on the code quality by resorting to temporary fixes. Also, it is very difficult to keep up with the ever-upgrading embedded technologies without allotting specific time for self-learning and training sessions from subject matter experts.

These factors make it necessary to keep the developers relaxed and motivated enough to learn the latest technologies and apply them optimally during the development of embedded applications.

3. Lack of planning to set realistic schedules

The business analysts and project managers should consult the development team when estimating project duration. If this is not done, the man-hours set aside for development and testing will not be realistic resulting in pressure to deliver within unreachable deadlines.

The developers and managers should collaborate on creating comfortable work schedules by explaining the need for realistic deadlines to the clients. Also, the buffer time kept for unforeseen delays should be utilized in productive planning, development, and testing rather than in unnecessary meetings and rework.

4. Compromising on application testing

When the team is pressurized to deliver in unrealistic timelines, the first collateral damage is to the application testing. Most builds are delivered with minimal unit testing and almost no dedicated testing by testers. This results in unstable applications and hidden bugs that might appear only at the production level (as the application is only tested for happy path scenarios). Setting dedicated testing time in the development schedule is a must for quality applications.

5. Compromising on data security

The second and more critical collateral damage in the above scenario is security management of existing applications. Having a robust security demands regular rolling out of updates and patches that protect against the latest security threats. Unfortunately, most resources are allocated on a dedicated basis to other projects, as soon as one project is completed – leading to security gaps in existing applications. This can also happen in ongoing applications when the project managers buckle down under pressure to deliver on deadline and allow code with security concerns to be pushed into the production environment.

6. Lack of proper maintenance for existing applications

As observed for software maintenance in application security scenarios, enterprises lack in allocating resources and manpower even for the hardware infrastructure of the embedded systems architecture. This creates a maintenance nightmare for the handful of resources managing the in-house operations and management. Proper maintenance planning, and advising the client to opt for maintenance packages makes it possible to have budget provisions for embedded applications.

7. Lack of budget allocation required to maintain quality

The licensing cost of software and tools for embedded systems is considerable. This may impact the final budget of the application development. With business analysts looking to cut costs at any cost, they may curtail the allocation for the development environment resources and assign a minimum number of resources to a team. This results in poor application quality due to lack of proper development tools and burnouts due to overworking of the team resources.

A good embedded systems development solution leverages the strengths of the operating system (mostly Linux), to provide excellent debugging tools, project planning and managing tools, security management, testing and systems integration processes, and extended application maintenance while avoiding higher development costs and investing in improving the developers’ skill set.

7 key factors to fix for accelerated Embedded System Development

Chirag Thumar

Chirag Thumar is an SEO and Web Developer at Nexsoftsys. NexSoftsys is a consultancy service providing Software Consulting Company in India and working for the US. Chirag has a wide range of knowledge about Technical Content Writing and it's his Hobby.

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