DO-178C Guide: Introduction to RTCA DO-178 Certification
DO-178C Certification Process & Planning
Table of Contents
DO-178C, also known as Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification, is a widely recognized standard for the certification of software used in airborne systems. Developed by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA), DO-178C provides guidelines and objectives for the software development process to ensure safety and reliability in aviation systems. This article will discuss the DO-178C certification process and highlight important plans that must be considered for successful certification.
DO-178C Certification Process
The DO-178C certification process consists of several key activities that need to be performed in a systematic and well-documented manner. The following are the major steps involved in the certification process:
Software planning is the initial phase of the DO-178C certification process. It involves defining the software development life cycle, including processes, tools, and resources required for software development. The planning phase also includes the identification of software levels (DAL A to E) and associated objectives, tasks, and artifacts.
In the software development phase, the actual coding and testing of the software take place. The development activities should comply with the defined software development life cycle, including requirements capture, design, coding, verification, and validation. The software should be developed using a process that ensures high-quality and reliable code.
Software verification is a critical phase in the certification process. It involves conducting various activities to demonstrate that the software satisfies its intended requirements and functions correctly. Verification activities include requirements-based testing, structural coverage analysis, and code reviews. The objective is to identify and fix any potential defects in the software.
Software Configuration Management
Software configuration management (SCM) is essential for maintaining control over the software throughout its life cycle. It involves managing software baselines, controlling changes, and ensuring the integrity of the software artifacts. SCM activities include configuration identification, version control, change management, and release management.
Software Quality Assurance
Software quality assurance (SQA) focuses on ensuring that the software development processes and activities are performed correctly. SQA activities include process audits, documentation reviews, and compliance assessments. The goal is to identify any deviations from the defined processes and take corrective actions to maintain the quality of the software.
The software certification phase involves the preparation of certification artifacts and documentation required by the certification authorities. These artifacts demonstrate compliance with the objectives and requirements of DO-178C. The certification package typically includes the software plans, development and verification records, test procedures and results, and other supporting documentation.
Important Plans for DO-178C Certification
To achieve DO-178C certification, it is crucial to develop and execute several plans that address specific aspects of the software development process. The following plans should be considered during the certification process:
Software Development Plan (SDP)
The Software Development Plan outlines the overall strategy for software development and describes the software development life cycle, processes, and procedures. It defines the roles and responsibilities of the development team and provides an overview of the software configuration management and quality assurance activities.
Software Verification Plan (SVP)
The Software Verification Plan details the activities and techniques to be used for verifying and validating the software. It defines the test strategies, test environments, test procedures, and the criteria for determining the successful completion of verification activities. The SVP also specifies the requirements-based testing and structural coverage analysis to be performed.
Software Configuration Management Plan (SCMP)
The Software Configuration Management Plan outlines the procedures for managing software configuration items, controlling changes, and ensuring the integrity of the software baselines. It describes the version control system, configuration identification scheme, and the process for handling configuration changes and releases.
Software Quality Assurance Plan (SQAP)
The Software Quality Assurance Plan describes the activities and processes to ensure that the software development adheres to the defined standards and objectives. It outlines the procedures for conducting process audits, documentation reviews, and compliance assessments. The SQAP also includes the metrics for measuring software quality and the corrective action process.
Software Tool Qualification Plan (STQP)
The Software Tool Qualification Plan addresses the qualification of software development and verification tools used during the development process. It defines the process for tool selection, verification, and validation to ensure that the tools do not introduce errors or deviations from the required standards.
Using Visure Solutions for DO-178C Certification Process and Planning
Visure Solutions is a leading provider of requirements management and traceability tools that can greatly assist in the DO-178C certification process. Their comprehensive software solution, Visure Requirements, offers a range of features and functionalities specifically designed to support the planning, development, verification, and documentation required for DO-178C certification. In this article, we will explore how Visure Solutions can be effectively utilized to streamline the DO-178C certification process and enhance planning activities.
Requirements Management with Visure Solutions
Requirements management plays a crucial role in DO-178C compliance as it ensures that all software requirements are captured, traced, and validated throughout the development life cycle. Visure Requirements provides a powerful and intuitive platform for managing requirements, allowing organizations to:
Requirements Elicitation and Capture
Visure Requirements enables efficient requirements elicitation and capture by providing customizable templates, forms, and collaborative tools. Teams can easily gather and document software requirements, ensuring completeness and correctness. The tool allows the classification of requirements based on their criticality and facilitates the identification of software levels (DAL A to E).
Establishing and maintaining traceability between requirements, design artifacts, code, and test cases is a fundamental aspect of DO-178C compliance. Visure Requirements offers comprehensive traceability capabilities, allowing organizations to create and manage bidirectional traceability links between different artifacts. This ensures full traceability from system requirements to software requirements, design elements, verification activities, and test cases.
Impact Analysis and Change Management
Visure Requirements supports impact analysis and change management, which are essential for addressing requirements changes and maintaining consistency throughout the development process. The tool provides visual representations of the impact of requirement changes, allowing teams to evaluate the consequences and make informed decisions. Change requests can be tracked, managed, and linked to affected artifacts, ensuring transparency and control over the change management process.
Planning with Visure Solutions
Visure Solutions also offers features that support effective planning for DO-178C certification. The following capabilities assist organizations in planning their software development processes:
Customizable Templates and Workflows
Visure Requirements allows the creation of customizable templates and workflows tailored to the specific needs of DO-178C certification. Organizations can define standard processes, procedures, and best practices to ensure consistency and compliance across projects. Templates can be created for software development plans, verification plans, configuration management plans, quality assurance plans, and other essential planning documents.
Effective documentation is crucial for DO-178C certification. Visure Requirements includes a robust document management module that facilitates the creation, review, approval, and storage of critical certification artifacts. Organizations can maintain a centralized repository of documents, ensuring version control, access control, and compliance with regulatory requirements.
Collaboration and Communication
Visure Requirements promotes collaboration and communication among team members involved in the DO-178C certification process. The tool provides built-in communication features such as notifications, comments, and discussions, allowing stakeholders to share information, provide feedback, and resolve issues effectively. This enhances teamwork and ensures that everyone is aligned with the certification objectives.
Reporting and Metrics
Visure Requirements offers comprehensive reporting and metrics capabilities, enabling organizations to generate customized reports and metrics related to requirements, traceability, test coverage, and compliance. These reports help in monitoring project progress, identifying potential bottlenecks, and demonstrating compliance during the certification process.
DO-178C certification is a rigorous and comprehensive process that ensures the safety and reliability of software in airborne systems. By following the certification process and considering important plans such as the Software Development Plan, Software Verification Plan, Software Configuration Management Plan, Software Quality Assurance Plan, and Software Tool Qualification Plan, organizations can effectively achieve DO-178C certification. Adhering to these plans helps in maintaining traceability, high-quality code, and compliance with the objectives and requirements specified by DO-178C, ultimately leading to successful certification and the development of safe and reliable aviation software.
Visure Solutions provides a powerful software solution, Visure Requirements, which can significantly streamline the DO-178C certification process and enhance planning activities. With its robust requirements management features, customizable templates and workflows, document management capabilities, collaboration tools, and reporting functionalities, Visure Requirements offers organizations a comprehensive platform to effectively plan, develop, verify, and document software in compliance with DO-178C requirements. By leveraging Visure Solutions, organizations can improve efficiency, reduce risks, and successfully achieve DO-178C certification for their airborne systems. To experience the benefits of Visure Solutions firsthand, we encourage you to check out their free 30-day trial, allowing you to explore the capabilities of Visure Requirements and see how it can streamline your DO-178C certification process and planning activities.
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