A key component of our success and the foundation for all of our projects is a Project Document. This document includes detailed system requirements specifications, and project management and support documentation.
This document is jointly created and maintained with our clients who are key participants in this process. The document is a consolidation of all of our experiences. It is a project template and check-list. It insures that every issue and every task is addressed and that every project is a success.
Our first task in any project is to complete enough of the Project Document to help us determine if there is an existing solution that will cost effectively meet a client’s needs. If there is such a solution, our objective will be to implement and adapt that solution. If not, we will develop a solution. In either case, the roadmap for the project is the Project Document.
Following is a sample of the Table of Contents (TOC) and Document Production Guidelines for a typical project that includes computer networks, software, and instrumentation.
Instrumentation Project Document - TOC & Document Production Guidelines
In the Introduction, the product(s) to be produced are identified and described. A description of the application and the relevant capabilities, including benefits and objectives, is included.
1.3 Definitions, Acronyms, and Abbreviations
In the General Description, the general factors that affect the product and its requirements are identified.
The product is placed in perspective with other related products or projects.
The software functions are summarized in layperson terms.
The eventual users are described, including their experience and technical expertise.
Any constraints, such as regulatory policies, hardware limitations, interfaces to other applications, audit functions, control functions, language requirements, communication protocols, criticality of the application, safety issues and security issues which may affect the development options are described.
2.1 Product Perspective
2.2 Product Functions
2.3 User Characteristics
2.4 General Constraints
2.5 Service and Support
2.6 Assumptions and Dependencies
In the Requirements Specifications section, the functional requirements of the hardware, software, and instrumentation are described. This includes the computer and instrumentation system components and configuration, operating systems, connections, peripherals, software development environments, languages and tools.
The input data, processing, and output data for all software functions is identified.
The external user, hardware, software, instrumentation, and communications and network interface requirements are described.
All the performance parameters of the computer hardware, software, instrumentation, and the users are specified in quantifiable terms.
Standards compliance and limitations are identified.
A system attributes list is compiled which includes acceptable downtime, security restrictions, maintainability methods, and portability standards.
Other requirements include database, operational modes and site adaptation.
3.1 Functional Requirements
3.1.1 Functional Requirements 1: Computer System
126.96.36.199 Grade: commercial, industrial, rugged
188.8.131.52 Type: analog, hybrid, micro (desktop, embedded, notebook, tablet), mini, mainframe, PDA, super
184.108.40.206 Operating Systems: Windows, Unix, Mobile / Wireless, Proprietary, RTOS
220.127.116.11 Software Development Environments and Languages: reusable
18.104.22.168.1 Database development platforms: 4GL, PIM, SQL
22.214.171.124.2 Graphical or picture based development platforms (test, control, design)
126.96.36.199.3 Scripting development platforms
188.8.131.52.4 Text based development platforms (data acquisition, analysis, presentation)
184.108.40.206 SMG Proprietary Software Development Tools: reusable
220.127.116.11.1 ISCP tools
18.104.22.168.2 QC QA software and instrumentation tools
22.214.171.124.3 Test libraries
126.96.36.199 Other Software Development Tools
188.8.131.52.1 Circuit design: capture, interactive simulation, board layout, validation
184.108.40.206.2 DAQ tools: managing, analyzing, inspecting and reporting data
220.127.116.11.3 Data management and analysis tools
18.104.22.168.4 Graphical design, modeling and simulation tools
22.214.171.124.5 HMI tools
126.96.36.199.6 Industrial automation tools
188.8.131.52.7 Instrument drivers
184.108.40.206.8 Internet tools
220.127.116.11.9 Machine vision tools: image acquisition, display, save, monitor, analyze
18.104.22.168.10 Math and visualization tools
22.214.171.124.11 Process control
126.96.36.199.12 Real-time tools: IO, stimulus profiles, data logs, alarms, control algorithms, simulations
188.8.131.52.13 SCADA tools
184.108.40.206.14 Spreadsheet tools
220.127.116.11.15 Switch management tools: automatic connections and routing
18.104.22.168.16 System monitor API
22.214.171.124.17 System requirements management tools
126.96.36.199.18 Test management tools: automation, distribution, sequencing, execution, results logging
188.8.131.52.19 Waveform tools: analyzers, editors, creators
184.108.40.206 Network Management Tools
220.127.116.11 Peripherals: connection – bus, cabling, interface, wireless; grade – commercial, industrial
18.104.22.168.1 Cables: audio, network (ethernet), parallel (SCSI), serial (USB), video
22.214.171.124.3 CardBus and PCMCIA devices
126.96.36.199.4 Cards: graphic, memory, network, sound, video
188.8.131.52.5 Communications: VoIP, webcam
184.108.40.206.6 Controllers: joysticks
220.127.116.11.8 Display: flat, touch, LCD / LED / plasma
18.104.22.168.9 Network: gateways, hubs, modems, NIC‘s, routers, switches
22.214.171.124.11 Pointing devices: mice, trackballs, touch pads
126.96.36.199.12 Power supplies: internal, external; UPS
188.8.131.52.13 Printers: type – dot matrix, inkjet, laser, thermal; function – EFT, kiosk, label, POS
184.108.40.206.14 Projectors: entertainment, presentation, screens
220.127.116.11.15 Scanners: bar code, image, OCR
18.104.22.168.17 Storage: location – external, internal; types – CD, DVD, drives (hard, solid state, tape)
22.214.171.124.18 Switches: KVM
3.1.2 Functional Requirements 2: Industry Standard Instrument Interfaces (IO) and Buses
126.96.36.199 Control: RS-232, RS-485, RS-422, USB, Ethernet, IEEE-1394 (Firewire), IEEE-488 (GPIB), wireless
188.8.131.52 PC Bus (USB, PCI, PXI/Compact PCI, PCI/PXI Express): multivendor, open, chassis, controllers, modules, communications
184.108.40.206 VXI bus, VME backplane, IEEE-488: multivendor, open, modular, embedded and remote controllers
220.127.116.11 Specialized Communication Buses, Protocols and Modules: industry based
3.1.3 Functional Requirements 3: Instrument Drivers
18.104.22.168 IVI Instrument Drivers
22.214.171.124 Plug & Play Instrument Drivers
126.96.36.199 Contributed Instrument Drivers
3.1.4 Functional Requirements 4: Measurement Instruments: Standalone, Modular, Distributed
188.8.131.52 Audio Analyzers
184.108.40.206 Bus interface modules
220.127.116.11 Cables, connections: ICA‘s, ITA’s
18.104.22.168 Chassis, Rackmount: VXI, PXI
22.214.171.124 Communications Instruments (DC to 6.6 GHz): high frequency, RF
126.96.36.199 DAQ: Analog and Digital IO, sensors, transducers, multifunction devices, modular, integrated signal conditioning
188.8.131.52 Digital Waveform IO
184.108.40.206 Digitizers, Oscilloscopes
220.127.116.11 Distributed IO: monitor, control, modular, rugged, scalable, embedded options, real-time options, communications standards, synchronization
18.104.22.168 Functional Test and Diagnostics
22.214.171.124 LCR Meters
126.96.36.199 Logic Analyzers
188.8.131.52 Machine Vision & Image Processing Hardware: multiple source, multiple image processing tools, real-time, configurable
184.108.40.206 Motion Controllers & Motor Drives: servo / stepper controllers & drives, multiple synchronized axes, flexible configuration
220.127.116.11 NVH Analyzers
18.104.22.168 PAC‘s: PLC‘s, advanced control and signal processing, open, flexible, multiple IO and deployment options
22.214.171.124 Programmable Power Supplies
126.96.36.199 Real Time Measurement and Control: standalone, reliable, deterministic, multiple IO and deployment options, precise timing
188.8.131.52 Signal Conditioning Accessories: chassis, modules, amplification, excitation, filtering, isolation, multiplexing.
184.108.40.206 Signal Generators
220.127.116.11 Switches & Switching Instruments
18.104.22.168 Synchronization Modules
22.214.171.124 System Power Supply
3.1.5 Functional Requirements 5:
3.1.6 Functional Requirements 6:
3.2 External Interface Requirements
3.2.1 User Interfaces
3.2.2 Hardware Interfaces
3.2.3 Software Interfaces
3.2.4 Communication Interfaces
3.3 Performance Requirements
3.4 Design Constraints
3.4.1 Standards Compliance
3.4.2 Hardware Limitations
3.6 Other Requirements
3.6.3 Site Adaptation: work environment
3.6.4 Future Requirements
In the Project Management section, the plan, organization, and management of tasks and resources to accomplish the defined project objectives is defined within acceptable time and budget constraints.
The project is divided into manageable tasks which are scheduled and then tracked as work progresses.
Project information is communicated simply and efficiently on an ongoing basis to all participants including clients, management and staff.
Project Management can be thought of simply as a disciplined set of procedures to provide answers to the following questions:
- What job or project is to be done?
- Who and what will be used to perform the tasks to complete the project?
- When must the project be completed by and where?
- How much will the project cost?
- What happens if the project is not completed on time and budget?
4.1 Project Plan
4.1.1 Research: current system functionality; new system functionality
4.1.2 Requirements Specifications
4.1.4 Build: assemble hardware; install software
4.1.5 Program: code development, debugging, verification, review
4.1.6 System tests: application tests
4.1.7 Install: client site; test; review
4.1.9 QC QA: acceptance tests; conformation to design specs and standards
4.1.10 Look at the big picture
4.1.11 Identify milestones, deliverables, and tasks
4.1.12 Define and refine the project schedule; develop a simple adaptable schedule to execute the plan
4.1.13 Identify skills, equipment, and materials needed
4.2 Project Execution
4.2.1 Have a baseline plan for comparison
4.2.2 Schedule the tasks and resources consistently and effectively
4.2.3 Control the reporting requirements
4.2.4 Track all of the information you gather about the specs, work (tasks and phases), duration, resources (personnel and equipment), progress as the tasks are executed
4.2.5 Visualize your detailed project plan and execution in standard, well-defined formats
4.3 Project Control
4.3.1 Ongoing validation and verification of the system development and deployment plan
4.3.2 Exchange project information with stakeholders over networks using standard file formats
4.3.3 Communicate with resources and other stakeholders while leaving ultimate control in the hands of the project manager: problems; new decisions; progress
4.4 Project Financing
4.5 Project Insurance
In the Maintenance Repair Support section, the issues of ongoing technical assistance and support, system self-tests and maintenance tests, repair, documentation, training and warranties are dealt with.
5.1 Technical Support
126.96.36.199 On-line: remote connect, knowledge bases
5.2.2 Maintenance Tests
5.3 Hardware Exchange Contracts
5.5 QC QA
5.6 Certification: industry standards
5.7 Warranty and Repair
In the Quality section, the issues that tie everything together and which make the difference between a good project and a great project are dealt with.
Quality must be built into the product by all of the team members.
Quality is an ongoing process.
The focus of all projects must be user needs and expectations, and not just system requirements specifications lists.
Project quality is a blend of product quality and process quality.
Generic product quality characteristics which must be considered are:
Generic process quality characteristics which must be considered are:
Error detection and remedy is particularly important throughout the project. The cost of fixing flaws escalates substantially as the project progresses.
SMG Quality Standards are a proprietary composite of all industry standards and all of our experience, and represent an effective blend of product and process quality which is determined primarily by customer needs.
6.1.1 SMG Proprietary Composite of All Standards and Experience
6.1.2 Boeing D1-9000 (generic)
6.1.3 ISO-9000, -9001, -9004
6.1.4 Malcolm Baldrige Criteria
6.2.1 SMG Proprietary Hardware and Software Validation and Verification Procedures
6.2.2 Industry Standard Validation and Verification Procedures
188.8.131.52 Conformity – Nonconformity
184.108.40.206 Effectiveness criteria
220.127.116.11 Efficiency criteria
18.104.22.168 Functional tests under normal (or simulated normal) operating conditions
22.214.171.124 Functional tests under extreme (or simulated extreme) operating conditions
126.96.36.199 Overload tests of the system under abnormal or totally unexpected operating conditions
188.8.131.52 Environmental tests to determine the performance of the system under various extreme conditions of humidity, temperature, vibration…
184.108.40.206 Hardware, software, system self-tests
6.3 Reliability and Fault-Tolerant Performance Indicators or Metrics
6.3.1 Percentage uptime
6.3.3 Other metrics
6.4 Ongoing Quality
6.4.4 Ongoing improvements
6.4.5 Record keeping system: traceability
In the Capabilities section, we define the resources to be used on the project including personnel and experience, facilities and equipment.
Working closely with our clients as members of our team, and effectively using their application specific knowledge and experience, SMG feels comfortable using our more generic hardware, software, instrumentation, and systems integration experience to work on many types of systems and applications.