Re: [SystemSafety] Agile methods

From: Todd Carpenter < >
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2013 12:58:19 -0500


I asked a buddy who has successfully done this in a US, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated industry, to join the list. Hopefully he will do so and will feel free to jump in. As far as I'm aware, the specific system was not subject to IEC 61508, and obviously not DO-178 but perhaps he might have some observations on how he was able to get Agile to mesh with their structured development practices at the time.


> Definitions always differ among the users of terms. But if the
> Agile methods being considered do not start with a complete and
> thorough specification of all the system/software safety
> requirements before anything else, then the system resulting
> system/software design will almost surely be less safe than one
> that does.

I cannot argue with that statement. It seems self evident.

However, it also seems like an ideal. Despite having worked on many safety-critical systems in a wide variety of domains (avionics, petrochem, medical, military) for the last quarter century (I know, I'm still a youngster), I have yet to experience one that "starts with a *complete *and thorough specification of all the system/software safety requirements before anything else." The word "complete" is what gets me.

Perhaps it's because the nature of my work has been on _new_ complex systems, which also implies there are potential interactions of the new system with its environment which are not fully understood at the outset of the project. As a result, I have always seen learning and evolution of requirements occur, including the safety requirements.

Has anyone worked on new complex systems that start with complete system safety requirements? If that's commonplace, I would like to understand how to bring that capability into my customer organizations.


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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Tue Sep 03 2013 - 09:34:31 CEST

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