Not every customer wants their project executed exactly the same way as others. Aspen Logic works in a mode with a design methology that suits your end goals: be it a prototype for requirements exploration, or a full on verified and extensively documented medical or aerospace product design. With those possibilities in mind, the customer selects a methodology to work with us. (We are fully open to discussing a customer specified methodology.)
Prototype Development Methodology
The approach here is speed and a sense of agile development appears. Coding begins immediately and the expectation is that testing will be done with burn-and-learn on lab hardware or vendor device evaluation boards. Ultimately, the customer may, at its discretion, deploy the prototype for production but we recommend against this. Performance and area goals are not considered other than what may be necessary to achieve bare bones operation. (For example, a vendor IP core may require operation at a certain frequency and we will obviously try to meet that requirement.)
Documentation is minimal and may just be notes about what was done -- not why it was done. The FPGA logic design may well be stored only with Aspen Logic personnel's heads and may not be available late into the future. Attempts at the end of the project life cycle to document the design will likely fail.
No effort is made to formalize test benches either in the hardware or via simulation meaning no effort is made to verify the design.
Minimal effort is allocated towards build scripting in favor of manual operation of vendor tools to create bitstreams.
No effort is allocated towards configuration management.
None or minimal effort towards source versioning in Git or Subversion is made except for the capability to roll back to favorable prototype builds after a significant failure.
Product Development Methodology
Unlike the prototype methodology, product development assumes a longer life span of the final design. The customer expects a greater emphasis on verification of the logic design to ensure it meets their quality standards. While not as stringent as Medical/Aerospace designs, the customer can influence the ultimate cost of the effort by focusing or eliminating effort on design documentation, design verification platforms (simulation, hardware) to what ever degree they see fit.
Typically goals/milestones, deadlines and performance benchmarks are documented and mutually agreed upon up front in a statement of work or Master Services Agreement (MSA). Typical milestones might include ones defined for U.S. Government backed projects including System Design Review (SDR), Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and Critical Design Review (CDR),
Optionally, the customer can engage Aspen Logic to implement selected portions of their quality policy (if it exists) work procedures on a contract basis to ensure conformance to quality goals.
Often we expect preparation and delivery of regular reports (either formal or informal) at specified intervals.
Ultimately, the a flexible approach, driven by customer needs rules how the development proceedes to ensure the design meets customer needs.
Medical/Aerospace Device Methodology
Aspen Logic works directly with the customer's quality department to implement company or regulatory processes necessary to transparently ensure high levels of quality in requirements tracking, design, coding, and most importantly verification.
Clearly, all facets of the effort are stringently controlled -- leading to the most expensive development effort.