ERCIM News No.32 - January 1998

TIMe - The Integrated Method

by Richard Sanders

TIMe is a systems engineering methodology developed by SINTEF Telecom and Informatics in co-operation with Norwegian industry. The methodology has been under continuous development since its inception in 1988, when its development started as one of the key elements of SISU, a technology transfer programme supported by the Norwegian Research Council.

TIMe uses visual design languages to facilitate communication between clients (ie people requiring new or modified software systems) and developers (ie the people who produce them). Elements of TIMe are currently in use by many Norwegian companies, helping them to enhance the management, improve the quality and reduce the lead times in their software engineering activities.

The method helps master the complexity of real-time systems development, and features automatic software production in a variety of computing languages. TIMe is published in an electronic textbook available on CD from SINTEF.

Figure2: Rules and guidelines are provided that help to make high quality descriptions.

TIMe is designed for systems that are reactive, concurrent, real-time, distributed, heterogeneous and complex.

TIMe seeks to achieve the higher process maturity levels. The goal is to enable what we call Property oriented development. This is characterised by:

The descriptions in TIMe are expressed using a few powerful languages, which are international standards supported by commercial tools:

TIMe is truly object oriented in its approach. It defines its own underlying object and property models, and contains detailed guidelines on how to make analysis and design models.

The TIMe CD contains tutorials on OMT/UML, SDL and MSC, and uses a common system example to exemplify notations, descriptions, types of development processes and how the methodology can be used. Rules and guidelines are provided that help to make high quality descriptions. They are organised in several levels. Some are language specific, some are description specific and some are project activity specific.

Characteristics of TIMe

TIMe for the Project Manager

TIMe has been used in real industrial development projects, carried out in co-operation with the Norwegian SISU project. Experience in SISU (based on hard metrics as well as interviews with project managers) showed various advantages of using TIMe:

Like all major changes in the development process, TIMe should be introduced into a development organisation with care.

TIMe for the Software Developers

Systems and software designers in SISU using TIMe typically reported:

Developers spend time on descriptions that are worthwhile, thus saving time and making development work more enjoyable. For more information on TIMe, see

Please contact:

TIMe c/o SINTEF Telecom and Informatics
Tel: +47 73 59 30 00

return to the contents page