Skeds Slip for Embedded Designs

If your team is understaffed and your project is running late, you're not alone. Embedded design teams are getting a little smaller and slipping schedules more often, according to a new study.

Respondents said 41% of all embedded design projects finished ahead of or on schedule and 59% were late or canceled. That's slightly worse than the previous four years during which 42% to 44% of projects were on or ahead of schedule, according to the 2014 Embedded Design Study, conducted by UBM Tech, the publisher of EE Times.

More projects are running late...

More projects are running late…

One factor for the sked slips is embedded design teams declined to an average 14 people, down from 14.6 in last year's survey. In addition, one of the few areas respondents they said they would like to improve about their design teams is the overall engineering skill level, according to the study released at the annual EE Live! event here.

...while the size of design teams shrinks a bit.

…while the size of design teams shrinks a bit.

Perhaps to speed things along they are increasingly using open-source operating systems with Android and FreeeRTOS as their top choices. For the first time in the survey's history, open-source OSs outpaced commercial OSs with use of open-source rising to 36% and commercial OSs falling to 33%.

The annual study takes a broad look at market and tech trends in embedded systems design. A total of 2,258 engineers responded to the latest survey conducted online January 18 through February 21, giving a 2% confidence level for most questions.

Most respondents (55%) were from North America, with 22% in Europe and 14% in Asia. They came from a wide range of sectors including industrial (33%), consumer electronics (24), communications (22), automotive (18), and medical (18) among many others.

— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times Circle me on Google+

This article was originally published on EBN's sister publication EE Times .

11 comments on “Skeds Slip for Embedded Designs

  1. _hm
    April 5, 2014

    Completed or not-completed – how do you define it? It is very subjective depending on plethora of points.

    Tested or not tested, what kind QA level? It also depends on reuse of old code, reuse of old hardware or not. And most important is time – how to define start and stop time?



  2. SP
    April 8, 2014

    The companies are not hiring even when many engineers resign and as a result the whole load and deadline pressure gets distributed among the existing team and that definitely will lead to schedule slippage.

  3. _hm
    April 8, 2014

    And product specifications are always moving target. It never gets finalized. And finally blame comes to embedded or other engineer. Not fair.


  4. prabhakar_deosthali
    April 9, 2014

    Many a embeeded Design projects are started in the hope of beating the competition. IF the project gets delayed either because of the budget or insufficient team members then it looses its market value and hence ahs to be scrapped.

    Completing the project ahead of the competition is the most importnat thing to get the returns otherwise the team morale also gets affected.

  5. SP
    April 9, 2014

    It is the engineers who gets affected if the projected has to be completed before deadline, you got to work round the clock, I know many of my friends they hardly come home when a critical bug comes in.  Work life balance has become only a bookish thing.

  6. t.alex
    April 11, 2014

    Lots of factors that can affect the project dramatically: the management, the customers, the marketing people and many others. We have to accept the  fact the it is always a moving target. 

  7. _hm
    April 12, 2014

    If projects gets delyed, blame it on embedded engineer – first hardware and to some extent firmware.

    However, if gets completed on or before time – all credit goes to management. They get bonus and promotions! What do you call it?

  8. Wale Bakare
    April 14, 2014

    The bulk of commendation and/or condemnation still on the management. That's more reason why you got them putting pressure on the engineers to produce results as quickly as possible.

  9. Wale Bakare
    April 14, 2014

    I agree with your points – quiet often the pressure process is like bottom-up or top-down. The demand from consumers make situation tough on engineers at times. So also, on the side of management beating the time to market is always on simply because of competitors.

  10. t.alex
    April 17, 2014

    _hm, this is typical of a few companies I  have seen. Engineers seek for better places and of course the products failed.

  11. SunitaT
    April 25, 2014

    If companies think shrinking the size of work groups can help the company have better coordination in an employee level then that is just wishful thinking. Some groups lack the morale and I think if they can add one more to the 14, and that being of a group manager, then employees can have a little less unnecessary crosstalk while in workplace and work with full attention towards the projects. Moreover they'll get some breathing space as well.

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