CI/CD’s impact on hardware development life cycles

CI/CD's impact on hardware development life cycles.


Hardware development life cycles (HDLC) play a crucial role in bringing innovative products to market. As hardware becomes more complex, the need for efficient workflows and modernized development practices becomes paramount. In this blog post, we will explore the evolution of hardware development life cycles and the transformative impact of migrating to Git and adopting continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) processes.

The traditional hardware development life cycle

Traditionally, hardware development followed a linear and waterfall model, where each phase was distinct and dependencies between them were rigid. This approach often resulted in lengthy development cycles, making it challenging to adapt to changing requirements or address issues promptly. The lack of collaboration tools and version control systems led to difficulty tracking changes, collaborating effectively, and maintaining a reliable version history.

Migrating to Git: a paradigm shift

In recent years, the hardware development community has recognized the need for a more flexible and collaborative approach. One significant shift has been the adoption of Git, a distributed version control system. Git allows developers to work simultaneously on different aspects of a project, merge changes harmoniously, and maintain a detailed history of changes.

One of the key advantages of Git is its ability to support branching and merging, enabling teams to work on features and fixes in parallel without disrupting the main production branch. This fosters collaboration and reduces the time it takes to integrate changes. Additionally, AllSpice uses layered, visual diffs in combination with Git for design reviews, ensuring that changes can be thoroughly examined before being incorporated into the main design.

Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD)

As hardware development projects become larger and more complex, the need for automated testing and integration becomes apparent. CI/CD practices address this challenge by automating the building, testing, and deployment processes, leading to faster development cycles and higher-quality products.

Continuous integration involves automatically integrating changes from multiple contributors into a shared “repository” (where you keep the project) several times a day. Automated tests are then executed to identify and address integration issues early in the process. This ensures that the design remains stable and any potential issues are resolved promptly.

Continuous deployment takes CI a step further by automating the deployment of design changes to production environments. This eliminates manual interventions, reducing the risk of human errors and accelerating the release cycle. CI/CD pipelines can be customized to your needs to do things like generate BOMs or text diffs.

Benefits of modernizing the hardware development life cycle

  • Enhanced collaboration: Git facilitates collaboration, allowing you to work concurrently on different aspects of a project and merge changes effortlessly.
  • Faster development cycles: CI/CD practices automate time-consuming processes, significantly reducing the time it takes to integrate changes.
  • Improved quality: automated testing tools in CI/CD pipelines ensure that design changes are thoroughly tested, leading to higher-quality products with fewer defects.
  • Adaptability to change: the flexibility provided by Git and the speed of CI/CD enable engineering teams to adapt to changing requirements and address issues promptly.

The modernization of the hardware development life cycle through the adoption of Git and continuous integration and continuous deployment practices marks a significant paradigm shift. Embracing these tools and methodologies enhances collaboration, accelerates development cycles, and ensures the delivery of high-quality products. As the technology landscape continues to evolve, staying abreast of these advancements is essential for remaining competitive in the fast-paced world of hardware development.

To learn how AllSpice can help you increase production timelines with fewer issues and stronger collaboration, even with vendors, request a demo.



Product manager

Jamie runs Product at and has an extensive background in Git, GitHub, and software engineering. She is outdoorsy and enjoys birdwatching.

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