Checklist: key points for critical software certification

Certification based on regulatory standards is a critical part of product development in some sectors, especially those that need to reach a certain safety-critical level due to the importance of their safety during operation.

Depending on the sector, there are different types of standards, and these have been updated in recent years. Although not all sectors have a certification authority as such, it is always necessary to achieve the safety levels required by each regulation when developing products in critical environments.

The interpretation of these regulations can be complex, especially if you are not familiar with the standards. This is why Centum has produced this article. In it, we provide you with information and a checklist of key points that you must take into account in the development of critical  software to ensure that it is both safe and certifiable.

Certification processes in the development of aerospace products

We have previously mentioned in our blog the importance of certification and compliance with standards within the aeronautical sector. It is a complicated but necessary task in order to achieve an adequate level of aircraft safety.

Certification is also a strong barrier to entry for producers from other sectors that are less demanding in terms of safety. To comply with these types of standards, it is essential to plan all the construction processes well, from the beginning of the requirements gathering to the final validations, and to be clear about the administrative and documentary steps that must be carried out alongside production.

In order to successfully complete a certification process, it is important to have a team with clear responsibilities and to include all the necessary stakeholders (internal and external) in the process. Of course, you should also be aware of the basis for certification, the requirements that must be met in order to achieve certification and any potential problems that may arise along the way.

Compliance with safety-critical standards is demanding (although necessary) and here at Centum we would like to share our experience with you through this checklist. It includes the key points that must be taken into account during the process of developing secure and certifiable software.

puntos clave para la certificación de software crítico

Checklist of key points for critical software development

The Safety-critical key points checklist that we have prepared at Centum (which you can download by clicking on the button below) includes the key points to be taken into account depending on the different levels of criticality. These are ordered by project phases.

The rows represent the different levels of criticality depending on the sector (DAL, LOR, SIL and ASIL), from the highest to the lowest level of requirement. Therefore, you only need to identify the row that matches your DAL level (or equivalent) and follow it from left to right.

The columns represent the different project phases, starting with the definition of requirements, through design and coding and ending with validation and verification. In addition, an additional column is included with the other important processes to be taken into account.

You can download the checklist by clicking here:

Who is this checklist for?

This checklist is of special interest to anyone involved in software who works in companies that develop critical systems, such as in the defense (land, sea and air), civil aviation, aerospace, automotive or railroad sectors.

It is also designed to help organizations that are seeking to enter new sectors whose regulations are unfamiliar to them.

puntos clave para la certificación de software crítico

How to successfully pass a certification?

We are talking about products on which people’s lives or the success of the mission will depend, so quality and safety during use are critical. In order to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the relevant standard, it is often necessary for the product to obtain certification, and this requires time and effort.

One of the main responsibilities is the management of documentation, which must be virtually flawless. Processes, analysis tools, each and every step taken, etc. must be documented. It is also important to clearly express the traceability of requirements at all levels, always using clear, consistent and unambiguous language, as we have explained previously in our other article concerning requirements specification insoftware projects.

In this sense, there are organizations that choose to outsource and have a partner to help them throughout the certification process, either because they do not have experience with the standard or because they are not compensated for the effort required to manage the documentation and they therefore prefer instead to devote themselves to other, more productive, areas of the project.

At Centum, we are experienced in these processes and we are very aware of the amount of resources they require, especially during the early stages when there is no experience of the regulations. The checklist we provide will help you to understand the key points to address and thus estimate the time and resources it may involve for your organization.

Centum, a partner specialized in safety-critical standards and certifications

We hope that the checklist and the information we provide will help you. The processes of certification are somewhat complex, especially if you need to achieve high levels of safety.

At Centum we can help you to rigorously comply with all the details required by the regulations and thus meet your project deadlines. We have experience of the various standards used in sectors such as aerospace, railroads, defense, automotive, etc. Hence your technicians will save the time needed to prepare the documentation and this will result in time-saving in the certification process. As a consequence of this, your development cost will be lower.

If you want more information, please contact us.

Critical Systems Engineering

At CENTUM Digital we have more than 16 years of experience offering Critical Systems Engineering services in the most demanding environments.
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