DO-178B Engineering Steps


DO-178B compliance and certification require strict software engineering discipline, and proof, throughout the software engineering lifecycle. This includes DO-178B system safety analysis, DO-178B systems engineering, DO-178B software requirements, DO-178B software architecture and design, DO-178B software verification, and DO-178B quality assurance. Also required are DO-178B configuration management and DO-178B Designated Engineering Representatives (DERs).
Each of the above DO-178B engineering activities has available 3rd party tools to support DO-178B compliance and "proof". Also available from a variety of sources are DO-178B consultants and services providers to provide guidance or hands-on engineering along the way.
Your DO-178B activities should include the following steps:

1 Receive DO-178B training. Private and public DO178B courses are available from a variety of sources. Select the one that has successfully trained the greatest number of engineers performing work similar to yours. You should also require a money-back guarantee and check instructor credentials: have they published DO-178B books and are they affiliated with a large and pure DO-178B company instead of being solo individuals trying to earn occasional money by rehashing already published materials. Trainers charge $8-12K for private training; low variation in prices, but huge variation in results. Click here to link to DO-178B Training providers.

2 Perform a DO-178B Gap Analysis. Analyze your existing software development processes and artifacts (requirements, design, code, tests) to determine what can be re-used and what must be re-done. Take DO-178B credit for as much legacy work as you can, under guidance from a registered DER; this will easily save you 20%-70% and reduce DO178B compliance costs. Have this performed by a registered DER with formal Gap Analysis training and experience; cost is typically $20-30K and requires 2-4 weeks to perform. Click here to link to DO-178B Gap Analysis providers.

3 Make or buy DO-178B Planning documents and DO-178B checklists. If you have ample DO-178B experience and sufficient time, you can build these on your own over a several month period. Otherwise, procure them from an outside source. Cost varies from $10K - 20K for a package; procure from a source who's primary business is such and who updates them regularly and guarantees their certification success via dozens of recent DO-178B certifications. Click here to link to DO-178B Planning and Checklist providers.

4 Select your DO-178B DER (Designated Engineering Representative). If you're reading this, your company probably does not have their own internal DER. There are over 100 individual registered DO-178B Software and System DERs. The FAA maintains a list, and several providers maintain a staff of consulting DERs for your usage. Fees range from $120 - $400/hr; price does not indicate quality in this case. Often, higher prices indicate an inability to garner sustaining work. Check credentials, get a list of the DER's past 10 clients in the last year and ensure all were satisfied; and never pay more than $175/hr for a DER. Click here for a link to registered DO-178B DERs.

5 Plan your DO-178B project resources and determine which portions you will do yourself and which you may outsource. There are over 10 DO-178B outsourcing companies in the U.S. (overseas DO-178B companies are NOT formally recognized by the FAA! Their work is generally sub-par and disallowed for final certifications; tread carefully in offshore outsourcing and receive ITAR guarantees from the provider and the U.S. Government before engaging offshore). Again, avoid the low-cost DO-178B bidder; cheap does not mean cost-effective. Go with a DO-178B outsourcing company who owns their own offices, maintains a full staff of DO-178B engineers, and works on multiple successful avionics projects simultaneously with dozens of successful references. After all, there is a reason they have been in business and grown throughout the years. Click here for a link to DO-178B outsourcing companies.

6 Select your DO-178B Products and DO-178B Tools. Your DER can assist with this. Read the pages herein for information on many of the available DO-178B products and tools to enable you to do your work better, faster, and more cost-effectively.


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