Standing up for Model-Based Design: Agile Workflows

For the past 8 years I have been helping customers adopt agile workflows as part of their Model-Based Design process. As acceptance of agile processes grows I have seen a corresponding growth in MBD / Agile best practices. With 5 points, I will illustrate how Model-Based Design and Agile Development workflows fit together.

Continuous Integration: The opposable thumb

Model-Based Design and Continuous Integration (CI) go together hand in glove; the central nature of continuous testing to agile development processes is why I consider this the “thumb” of MBD / Agile workflows. And as for why Model-Based Design with Simulink is so powerful for CI systems? Built in access to simulation and therefore testing.

Rapid iterations / system integration: Pinky

One of the goals of Agile workflows is to allow engineers to work independently while being able to collaborate seamlessly. The key to this is the use of integration models or system architecture tools. The individual engineer works on their component while having an integration framework to validate against.

Why pinky: Because testing (thumb) and integration are the boundaries of Agile.

Making the most out of Stand Ups: Ring

Stand up meetings, or check-ins are intended to be quick reviews of outstanding issues. Having effective tools to aid in the review is critical. The graphical nature of Model-Based Design (and the ability to easily generate plots / graphs) means that the information required can easily be conveyed. (Note: bad stand up meetings can seem like they last for 24 hours. I would recommend this site for best practices)

Why ring: In stand ups we all stand around the table

Cross group collaboration: Middle

Working across groups is one of the higher order objectives of Agile workflows. Model-Based Design, with the use of architectural models, allows groups to not just design the control algorithms but the system level architecture, the physical requirements and hardware interfaces as well.

Why middle: Because this is the center of all the work.

One model, many uses: Reuse: Index

Chose the “right” one

In an ideal Agile workflow your work product is iterated throughout the design cycle. In a standard Model-Based Design workflow, you reuse the same model from the start to finish.

Why index: because the one concept indexes into the other.

Final thoughts / lack of footnotes

In writing a post about “the hand in glove,” footnotes didn’t seem right, so the final thoughts will have to do. Agile workflows, like the waterfall or test driven development (TDD) or one of many others are good practices to follow assuming that the work environment is following rational design processes. Know when to bend and when to hold fast to the process. For another view on Model-Based Design and Agile workflows I highly recommend this post.

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