How to Master Embedded Software

Challenge

The customer is a global tier one supplier in the automotive industry based in Germany. As many other automotive suppliers, this company was leader in mechanics and electronics, but weak in the software sector, due to a lack of respective experience. The company management did not pay much attention to software. In individual departments, software was developed as necessary, in addition to electronics components, by electronic engineers. The delivery processes for OEMs were not standardized. The result was that the product quality was dependent on the particular skills of employees involved.  

Due to this, the company had to face poor product quality and faults, which were mainly caused by uncontrolled or late changes in the software, missing integration tests or verification faults.

Project Duration/Volume (employee months)

About 2 years

About 3 Method Park employees

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Solution

The technical development management categorized the consequent acquisition of software expertise, the introduction of standardized software engineering processes and modern tools as being a high priority. Automotive SPICE® and a verification and validation structure based on the v-model were used as basis. 

The crucial success criteria for the definition of software engineering processes, was the deployment of competent specialists: Processes were defined not only by process experts but also by experts of each discipline. Responsibility for design processes, for instance, was transferred to the employee with the deepest company-wide know-how in model-based software development. This approach led to high quality of results and – due to the credibility of this person – to high process acceptance among users. Those with process responsibilities also had the task to communicate know-how and train employees on the new processes and methods. All this was only possible with the clearly and repeatedly communicated commitment and the practical support of development management. 

Simplicity was the key to success for process design. The basis was the modeling of processes, milestones, involved roles, methods and tools, which are result-oriented and easy to understand for end users. Method Park consultants assisted this modeling in the process management tool “Stages” and supported the immediate application of new processes, including project-specific tailoring. This strategy resulted in short and effective feedback cycles. 

With this method, the company was able - in a short time - to increase software quality, establish software as an innovation motor in the company, integrate new techniques such as AUTOSAR in processes and tools and fulfill new requirements of Functional Safety. With the consequent standardization and documentation of processes, the company quickly doubled its workforce in the technical development. This propelled the company to the top position of innovation in the automotive industry.

Solution

Acquisition of knowledge on software

Know-how transfer by experienced professionals

Implementation and documentation of standardized processes and tools

Deployment of the process management system Stages

Benefits

Leading position in innovation and technology, due to software engineering

Low-friction increase in workforce by 100% within 1.5 years

Repeated “Best-in-Class” certification by OEMs

Successful Automotive SPICE® Level 3 assessments

Entire fulfillment of requirements by ISO 26262 and similar standards