Process Assurance is a really important role in a DO-254 program. (Likewise, Quality Assurance in a DO-178C program). If done well, it can save companies a lot of time and expense by making SOI audits go smoothly and avoiding unnecessary rework. As an example, I was recently holding a SOI-3a audit for a DO-254 program, which includes checking the ability to rebuild and regenerate the test environment and results. While the company had the necessary documentation as part of their Hardware Verification Plan (HVP), there was still a lot of confusion about which files to pull and where the evidence resided – which boiled down to versioning and control of the files. So I suggested two things for DO-254 programs:

1) Creating a VCI (verification control index) document to control all the test bench files, models, scripts –basically the collection of items used when testing the FPGA. After all, this repository of data is very similar to the design (hardware) repository, which is similarly controlled within an HCI.

2) Holding a Process Assurance “test readiness review” prior to the formal test for credit audit to run through the process internally prior to the SOI audit. Our T7 “Test Readiness Review” checklists provide a really good list of the questions that should be asked and answered in this review.

Running tests without proper conformity of the test environment and design could result in a full rerun of tests, which can take weeks! So doing these two fairly simple things can save time and frustration in the long run.

In my example above, these small changes made a world of difference the next time around, and the Process Manager referred to these suggestions as one of the most important tips he ever learned from a DER. Try it yourself and see the difference it can make in your processes.

Click here if you want to see what we offer for checklists that help Process Assurance and the team overall.