Architecturally Driven, Iterative Development – a case study in project recovery

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Author: Glenn Coates, Software in Real Time Ltd

Scrum is a popular agile software development process used in various domains including embedded systems. Whist agile development is clearly beneficial for most software development projects, there are some attributes of Scrum which may be considered inappropriate for the development of high integrity embedded systems.

This paper considers a real world Scrum based project and the problems faced. The results of an initial project retrospective are illustrated. The paper then describes how the software development approach was overhauled in order to recover the project and secure its long term future. An agile software development approach is outlined to meet the needs of high integrity embedded systems. The results of a second project retrospective are then illustrated.

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Glenn is an embedded software engineer with 20 years of experience, working in the areas of defence, scientific instruments, JVM and firmware development. His roles include Architect and hands-on Team Leader, working as an independent consultant on both long term development projects and short term trouble shooting assignments. Glenn has a BSc(Hons) in Computer Science, an MPhil in hard real-time systems and a PhD from the University of York, designing a Microprocessor for reduced power consumption over existing architectures.