A Guide to Defining Requirements for Embedded Systems

January 15, 2024 Programming

Embedded systems are like the hidden powerhouses in our everyday life, doing important jobs from running our microwaves to being part of big space tech. Making these systems starts with a key step that people often don’t think much about—figuring out what the systems need to do. This part is really important because it decides if the system will work well and be reliable.

This easy-to-follow guide goes into the detailed process of figuring out these needs for embedded systems. It gives you expert advice and handy tips to help you through this important part of making embedded systems.

Understanding Embedded Systems

Before diving into the specifics of requirement definition, it’s essential to grasp the nature of embedded systems. These are specialized computing units engineered to execute particular functions within broader mechanical or electrical systems. In contrast to general-purpose computers, embedded systems are customized for specific tasks, resulting in focused and precise functionality. Such specialization demands a detailed and considerate approach in defining their requirements to ensure they fulfill their intended purpose efficiently and effectively.

Key Points for Clear Needs in Embedded Systems Development

In making software for embedded systems, having clear and exact needs is really important. These needs are the main part of making a project work well. They make sure the final product does what it’s supposed to do and works right in the situations it’s made for. If you set clear needs from the start, you can avoid spending too much time and money making modifications later. This makes the whole process of making the software better and more efficient.

Getting to Know What Stakeholders Want

One of the first considerations you need to do when setting up needs is to really understand what everyone involved wants. This includes the people who will use it, the clients, and the people who are making it. You need to have several discussions with these groups to get a good idea of what they want the embedded system to do and how they expect it to perform. Working together like this is very important for making a system that meets the different needs and goals of everyone involved.

By thinking through what these people want right from the start, the way you make the system is more focused, leading to a product that does well for its users and works without any problems where it’s meant to be used.

What the System Needs to Do

When we talk about what the system needs to do, we’re referring to the exact jobs it has to handle. For embedded systems, this usually means functions like processing tasks quickly, working with sensors, and controlling things very accurately. It’s important to be clear about these needs because they help guide how the system will be able to do these jobs.

Non-Functional Requirements

Non-functional requirements focus on the manner in which the system executes its tasks. These encompass factors like system dependability, performance efficiency, and security. For embedded systems, pertinent considerations might include response times, energy consumption, and suitability for various environmental conditions. Such requirements are essential to ensure that the system operates optimally in its intended setting.

Embedded Systems Software Development

Embedded systems software development is a critical aspect of creating these systems. It involves writing the code that controls the system’s functionality. This process is guided by the defined requirements. The software must meet the functional and non-functional requirements. It should be efficient, reliable, and maintainable. Developers need a clear understanding of the requirements to create effective software for embedded systems.

Validation and Verification

Once requirements are defined, they must be validated and verified. Validation ensures the requirements meet stakeholder needs. Verification checks if the system meets these requirements. This process is crucial for ensuring the system functions as intended. It involves testing and reviewing the system against the defined requirements.

Documentation and Communication

Effective documentation and communication are key in this process. Requirements should be documented clearly and shared with all team members. This ensures everyone understands what is expected of the system. Regular communication helps in addressing any issues or changes in requirements. It keeps the project on track and aligned with stakeholder expectations.


Setting up what embedded systems need is a complex and super-important job. It’s not just about the tech stuff; it’s about really understanding what everyone involved expects and needs. You have to write down every little thing the system should do and how it should do it, and also know what it can’t do. These detailed needs are super-crucial for making embedded system software. They’re what make the whole project work. They’re more than just directions; they’re the base that holds up strong and trustworthy embedded systems.