Salt Lake City, Utah
June 20, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 23, 2004
9.381.1 - 9.381.8
Design Inspections and Software Product Metrics in an Embedded Systems Design Course J.W. Bruce Mississippi State University
Development tools, especially those for software, have matured to the point where a single iteration of the development cycle can be as short as a few minutes. No one desires to go back to the “good old days” when the development and physical prototyping cycles took hours or days. However, the slower development pace of yesteryear did prompt a certain amount of critical review of design changes and undoubtedly prevented many basic design defects. Current development tools combined with the increasing time-to-market demands lead engineers (and engineering students) to design at a frantic pace, often introducing many design defects. An easy way to improve the quality of design is to get the engineers to simply “slow down”.
This paper describes a design process for an embedded systems design course  where formalized hardware and software design inspections are performed. The design inspections are held before prototyping begins and strives to curtail the far too common cycle of develop, test, change, and test again – a cycle I describe as “hacking”. The design process described in this paper yields a high-quality product within a short design cycle, while mimicking the design inspections found in industry  .
The design inspections serve as a convenient time for software product measures to be collected. The quantitative measures document the nature, origin, and other vital characteristics of each design defect and are frequently used in industry  . Furthermore, data obtained in design reviews can be used to improve the instruction quality, track the maturity of the student design skills, and prompt relevant classroom discussions. Examples of using the software product metrics in design process monitoring, analysis, and estimation are given.
Finally, the design practices described in this paper help students to develop team and communication skills that are often neglected by traditional engineering curricula. Course evaluations were obtained from students and external reviewers. Results indicate that the process is well received and achieves the course’s educational objectives.
In [], the author presents a team-based progressive embedded systems design course that, in addition to providing the technical embedded systems knowledge, develops team and communication skills in situations emulative of industry. The course was a success by many accounts; however, student teams abandoned sound design practices in attempt to meet the demanding 16-week “time-to-market” constraint. Teams adopted a rapid development model where design defects are detected and corrected in unit and system testing. Designs were not reviewed other than ad hoc reviews by the designer. Consequently, team members produced
Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2004, American Society for Engineering Education
Bruce, J. (2004, June), Design Inspections And Software Product Metrics In An Embedded Systems Design Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/13391
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015