All posts tagged: rapid

There are many different agile development methods and process frameworks, with Extreme Programming, Scrum, Kanban, and Dynamic Systems Development Method being some of the best known. Although there are many different agile process frameworks and methods, most are fundamentally similar in that they promote teamwork, collaboration and process adaptability throughout the whole life cycle of a development project. 

The various agile methodologies share much of the same underlying philosophy as well as many of the same characteristics and practices. From an implementation standpoint, however, each has its own combination of practices and terminology. Most agile methods break tasks into small increments with minimal planning, without directly involving long-term planning.

At the end of teach iteration in the agile process, a working product is demonstrated to stakeholders. This minimises overall risk and allows the project to adapt to changes quickly. Iterations might not add enough functionality to warrant a market release, but the goal is to have an available release (with minimal bugs) at the end of each iteration. 

Multiple iterations might be required to release a product or new features. No matter what development disciplines are required, each agile team contains a customer representative, for example the “Product Owner” in the Scrum method. This person is appointed by stakeholders to act on their behalf and makes a commitment to be available for developers to answer mid-iteration questions. 

At the end of each iteration, stakeholders and the customer representative review the project’s progress and re-evaluate project priorities with a view to optimising the project’s return on investment and ensuring alignment with customer needs and business goals.

Extreme Programming, which has emerged as one of the most popular but sometimes controversial agile methodologies, is a disciplined approach to delivering high-quality software quickly and continuously. It promotes high customer involvement, rapid feedback loops, continuous testing, continuous planning, and close teamwork to deliver working software at very frequent intervals, typically every one to three weeks. 

The original model of Extreme Programming (XP) is based on four simple values of simplicity, communication, feedback and courage, backed up by various supporting practices such as pair programming, test-driven development, continuous integration and collective code ownership. 

In an XP project, the customer or customer advocate works very closely with the development team to define and prioritise granular units of functionality referred to as “user stories”. The development team estimates, plans, and delivers the highest priority user stories in the form of working, tested software on an iteration-by-iteration basis.

Scrum is another popular agile project management framework; a lightweight framework with broad applicability for managing and controlling iterative and incremental projects of all kinds. Scrum has achieved increasing popularity in the agile software development community due to its simplicity, proven productivity, and ability to act as a wrapper for various engineering practices promoted by other agile methodologies. 

Using the Scrum methodology, the product owner works closely with the team to identify and prioritise system functionality in form of a “product backlog”. The product backlog consists of features, bug fixes, non-functional requirements and anything else that needs to be done in order to successfully deliver a working software system. 

With priorities driven by the product owner – cross-functional teams estimate and sign-up to deliver “potentially shippable increments” of software during successive “sprints” typically lasting 30 days. Once the product backlog for any given sprint is committed, no additional functionality can be added to the sprint except by the development team.

Kanban is another agile method used by organisations to manage the creation of products with an emphasis on continual delivery while not overburdening the development team. Like Scrum, Kanban is a process designed to help teams work together more effectively. 

It is based on the three basic principles of visualisation of the work to be done on a given day using large noticeboards, walls or “information radiators”, since seeing all the items in the context of each other can be very informative, limiting of the amount of work in progress at any given time, which helps to balance the flow-based approach so that teams don’t start too much work or commit too much work at once, and the enhancement of efficient workflow, where the next highest-priority task from the backlog is underway quickly once a previous task is completed.

The Dynamic Systems Delivery Method, or DSDM, is another important agile method, which grew out of the need to provide an industry standard project delivery framework for what used to be referred to as RLX2apid Application Development or RAD. 

While RAD was very popular in the early 1990s, the RAD approach to software delivery evolved in a fairly unstructured manner. As a result, the DSDM Consortium was created and convened with the goal of devising and promoting a common industry framework for rapid software delivery, and since then the DSDM methodology has evolved and matured to provide a comprehensive foundation for planning, managing, executing, and scaling agile process and iterative software development projects. 

DSDM specifically calls out “fitness for business purpose” as the primary criteria for delivery and acceptance of a system, focussing on the useful 80% of the system that can be deployed in 20% of the time. Requirements are baselined at a high level early in the project. Rework is built into the process, and all development changes must be reversible. Requirements are planned and delivered in short, fixed-length time-boxes, also referred to as iterations, and requirements for DSDM projects are prioritised into “must have”, “should have”, “could have” and “won’t have” categories. 

All critical work must be completed in a DSDM project, but it is also important that not every requirement in a project or time-box is considered critical. Within each time-box, less critical items are included so that, if necessary, they can be removed to keep from impacting higher priority requirements on the schedule. The DSDM project framework is independent of, and can be implemented in conjunction with, other iterative agile methodologies such as Extreme Programming. 

Agile hardware development may seem complex, or quite foreign – however the methods used can decrease the period of time from idea to final product launch – with the right partners. Here at the LX Group we can partner with you – finding synergy with your ideas and our experience to create final products that exceed your expectations.

To get started, join us for an obligation-free and confidential discussion about your ideas and how we can help bring them to life – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Muhammad AwaisFrameworks for Agile Hardware Development

Everyone is in a rush. From management with new ideas to implement, engineers under the pump to meet or beat deadlines, investors and shareholders to receive their financial returns, and generally everyone else in the organisation. Then you have the competition – who you need to beat to be first-to-market with your new product ideas or revisions. It just doesn’t stop!

You may be tempted with the concept of shipping just the minimum viable product, or looking to save as much time as possible. It is true that time can be saved in the design process – and there may be many quite obvious methods of doing so. However efficiency gains in any process can only be found and validated by professionals in each field. Therein lies the key to successful product development, and fine-tuning the process – you need the right team members with the expert knowledge in their field.

In the past you may have released products that have been satisfactory, had a low return or maintenance rate, with good customer feedback. However this may have just been a simple fluke – due to low volume, low feedback of any kind, and the end users not using the product to its rated specifications. But when it comes time to speed things up – the results of the new design may be altered directly or indirectly for the worse.

But how can this be? Knowledge – and the lack of it. Even in medium or large organisations, the design team may comprise of inexperienced new hires, staff who aren’t familiar with the latest revisions in your field, or well-meaning people who just don’t have enough design knowledge to do the best job possible. Their results may produce costly mistakes – both financially and legally. Let’s examine a couple of mistakes to see how easy they are to make, yet costly to recover from.

One recent – and very public example is the recent issue with the Lithium-Ion battery pack used for auxiliary power in the new Boeing 787 aircraft. In a constant drive to reduce weight, engineers chose Li-Ion batteries for their high energy to weight ratio – which theoretically is a great idea. However in practice one large battery was made with several individual packs that were packed together in a sealed compartment. This didn’t allow for any cooling space between the individual packs, thus causing overheating after use and a fire. Now the 787 fleet is grounded until further notice, causing great cost embarrassment to operating airlines, Boeing and associated organisations. [1] With more thought about the design and knowledge about Li-Ion batteries this potentially lethal situation could have been easily avoided.

Another much smaller yet equally hazardous example is that of a power supply design update. The previous design had the AC-AC transformer mounted separately on the chassis. However in a drive to reduce the enclosure size, a newer engineer decided to mount the transformer directly onto the PCB – and also reduce the PCB thickness to save production costs. In theory it looked great, and the test samples from production worked flawlessly. However after the first batch shipped to customers – they were not happy. The combination of the transformer weight, reduced PCB thickness and shock from the delivery process caused the PCBs to fracture – rendering the power supplies useless.

In both cases it would have taken an experienced, knowledgeable person a very short period of time to determine the changes were not for the better, and recommend positive design changes. And thus saving an incredible amount of time for restoration, money and the organisations’ reputation. It can be said that “experience pays” – every time. But what to do if you’re in a rush and don’t have the required experience?

Work with an organisation that has a large team of knowledgeable, experienced engineers with a wide range of design and manufacturing expertise across consumer, business and military-grade products – such as the LX Group. We can take your design ideas, revision requirements and produce the required customised solution for your team, or even follow through to final completion, including documentation, standards compliance and revisions.

For more information or a confidential discussion about your ideas and how we can help bring them to life – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

 Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

[1] Peter Cohan, Forbes Magazine 27/01/2013 –


Muhammad AwaisLX Group discusses the value of Experience in Product Development

Here at the LX Group we have a wide variety of experience and expertise in helping organisations and individuals move their ideas and electronics prototypes into products and solutions. During this time we have developed methods of decreasing the time and budget required to develop prototypes, and distilled this into a system we call the LX Hardware Compiler. This is a mixture of our engineering expertise and advice combined with a range of pre-built electronic modules.

At this point we’re very proud to announce to the public the availability of a wide range of electronic modules that form part of the LX Hardware Compiler via our new online store – located at Using the modules is easy and will save you time, money and accelerate your prototype design.

How? It’s simple. Browse through the range of modules to find a particular function that forms part of your circuit – for example a power supply, real-time clock or a level converter. You can review the data sheet for the major component of the circuit, and also download the Altium file to integrate the module into your parts library. Each module is designed to be placed on a PCB just like any surface-mount component. Once selected, the module(s) can easily be added to your prototype circuit, then once the PCB returns from the board house – simply drop in the module and solder it to the PCB.

At launch we have just over fifty modules available, in the following categories:

  • Analogue – such as OpAmps
  • Audio – including digital audio, MP3, amplifier and MEMS microphone units
  • Display – a great full-colour OLED module
  • Drivers – starting with our dual DC motor driver modlue
  • I/O Peripherals – including port expanders, multiplexers and optoisolators
  • Memory – add flash memory or a microSD card interface
  • Processors – a range of popular microcontrollers from various vendors
  • Programmable Logic – starting with Altera CPLD modules
  • Power supplies – a wide range of single, dual, SMPS and linear supplies and voltage references
  • Sensors – measure temperature, current, position heading and more
  • Switching – a variety of solid-state relays and FET switch modules
  • Wired communications – add Ethernet and USB easily
  • Wireless communications – including Wi-Fi, GSM/GPRS and Infrared receiver modules
  • Miscellaneous – starting with accurate real-time clocks and user-input

By using our range of modules wherever possible you can “let us do the work”, so you don’t have to spend the time designing your own common circuits or attempt to source parts in low volume at a good price – letting you can get on with your project and bringing it to life.

To get started, click here to visit our new online store and start exploring how our modules can fit in with your design. Or for more information and a confidential discussion about your ideas and how we can help bring them to life – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Muhammad AwaisAccelerate prototype design with the new range of modules from LX