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Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?

10/10/2011 04:30 PM EDT
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sybernut
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
sybernut   12/30/2011 1:51:44 AM
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I have the same experience after many years in the aerospace industry... although Agile can add some dynamism and flexibility, especially to projects with little or no historical precedent, it seems to try to cover up some sins as well.

nosnhojn
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
nosnhojn   10/17/2011 3:10:43 PM
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guys, this article was geared more toward asic/fpga teams though obviously there could be implications for board/system teams also like you point out. I wondered myself whether agile could be applied to board/system development until I heard from an agile team that does it. As one example, they built multiple prototypes (electrical *and* mechanical) for a product with a development cycle (start to finish) of only about 3 months. I think it ended up being 1 prototype/month which really surprised me. People might see that much effort dedicated to prototyping as ridiculous and/a waste of effort but for this team it worked very well. Since then, I'm careful to leave the door open to agile being applied to board/system dev. It's possible. People just have to determine whether or not it's right for their particular situation. Thanks for the comments! -neil

Darius Pl.
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
Darius Pl.   10/16/2011 9:48:35 AM
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I had also the same ideas. It is hard to imagine how the agile approach could be applied, when you have to plan use and acquisition of hardware components. Even application for the FPGA design could be in some cases constrained if some external hardware is under development.

t.alex
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
t.alex   10/16/2011 2:59:50 AM
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Is this talking about FPGA kinda development? It is very applicable. However if talking about board level or product level, does it make sense to apply agile?

PaulF97
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
PaulF97   10/11/2011 10:22:27 PM
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The best projects I have worked on had a close and successful collaboration between HW and SW leads. For example, in one case, the SW architect was allowed to define the HW architecture for buffer management and other design elements that were critical for SW operation. This led to a superior design and faster execution. The Agile emphasis on individuals and interactions, together with frequent planning and design iterations, is ideal for promoting this kind of co-operation. Managers need to promote and reward success based on the success of the whole product, not just on the HW and SW elements seperately.

intuitive
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
intuitive   10/11/2011 8:49:46 PM
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Horizontal progress through a project rather than vertical progress has the advantage of catching cross-discipline problems early while they are easy to fix. Having working code and hardware early also allows design assumptions to be tested as you go rather than have a false premise early on doom the whole project. The differences between hardware and software in electronic systems are insignificant as they are just different ways of expressing data-flow.

Robotics Developer
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
Robotics Developer   10/11/2011 2:47:44 PM
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The concept of Agile is very interesting but the looseness (maybe it is only me - the hardware guy) seems to be more dangerous than helpful. Having worked on many projects over the past decades I have many examples of plans, specifications and implementations working on time, on budget and accepted by the customer. The times that trouble arose was customer feature creep OR unrealistic schedules driven by external forces. I do like the Agile approach to individual interactions/contributions and teamwork! It has always been about team, especially now with systems/boards being so complex that one person just can't do it all. Thanks for the introduction to Agile!

Jujucath
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re: Agile hardware development – nonsense or necessity?
Jujucath   10/11/2011 12:24:30 PM
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Great job introducing Agile in the context of hardware development! The first gotcha I have seen is that the product development is dolled out to two leads: the R&D lead for hardware, and the R&D lead for software. What happens next, even before development gets kicked off, is that there are spats of resource contention! As the two have to share the same money pie, with success rewarded individually, never betwixt they shall meet. "Individuals and interactions" as key values in development must nurtured very early -well before development starts - to bring success.

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