Just About Enough Virtual Prototyping

What do you do when the pilot says there is just enough fuel to make it?

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While traveling back to California from the U.K., I had a layover in Chicago, which is probably all too familiar to most United Airlines frequent flyer members. Everything went according to schedule until everyone boarded and the plane still didn’t take off.

The pilot explained to us that there was a problem with the hatch for the refueling of the aircraft. We were stuck in the plane for about two hours. Eventually the captain announced “We have just about enough fuel to get us to San Francisco.” While I doubt that United would allow an airplane to take off if it had “just about enough fuel,” it was an interesting set of words to hear from the captain. This made me wonder what does, “just about enough” mean in the context of software development and virtual prototyping.

An interesting measure of lines of code: Students of the Code.org tutorials have written 1,969,497,657 lines of code. About 100 of these must have been from my son who went through a couple of their online coding tutorials. It is a great way to get your children introduced to programming.

And as beautifully illustrated here, the lines of code in products have dramatically increased over time. So what is “just about enough code” in that context? Apparently it is very dependent on the product, e.g. software in cars is now reaching 100 million lines of code.

Any way you look at it, the software content is growing in just about every imaginable electronics product. And with over 18 million students trying out the tutorials of Code.org, the interest in “code” is growing as well.

With such a reliance on software to drive electronics, “just about enough” code isn’t cutting it. Neither is being “just about on-time” to have software available to release a new product. The new heartbeat of electronics products requires an equivalent heartbeat on the software development side. Like in real life, you wouldn’t want any sort of heart rhythm disorder (an abnormal variation from the normal heartbeat). While virtual prototyping might not save lives preventing heart rhythm disorders, it can help you achieve a healthy heartbeat to align software development alongside hardware development. And the great thing is that “just about enough” virtual prototyping will ensure that you can develop more than enough software to successfully launch your product with the right functionality and on time!