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Impact of Embedded Software Design Decisions on the Product Life Cycle Process

Software design decisions were considered in this study, as the possibly principal factor for unplanned adjustments related to the embedded software handling, at production and service processes.

The study reveals an increase of requirement changes during the last phases in then software development projects execution, which forces late design decisions in order to fulfil the changed requirements. Consequently, the likelihood of risks for unexpected impacts on the subsequent processes will increase.

A research approach based on interviews and data from previous projects at Volvo CE was performed. The process methodology used at Volvo CE for software development was investigated from the project planning and control view and the project team member’s perspective.

A high amount of software-design decisions were encountered at the end of the software development process at Volvo CE, as a result of numerous requirement changes at the final phases of the projects execution. A gap was identified between how the process methodology specified the progression of activities for software development and the actual progression of the project activities in Volvo CE.

This study discusses problem areas in the software development process at Volvo CE from an embedded design decisions perspective. As future work, the study recommends three steps to find improvements to the process methodology: 1) Update the process based on standardized procedures for management of requirements changes, risk handling, and communication. 2) Further analysis and possible adaptations of the process model 3) Develop methods and/or tools for process quality assurance.

The management of the embedded software decisions appears to be a very complicated area, the conventional statements on the importance of the decisions in the earlier phases, at least, should be further discussed and investigated.
Source: Mälardalen University
Author: Palomeque, Alberto

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