An Iterative Approach for Development of Safety-Critical Software and Safety Arguments

Xiaocheng Ge, Richard F. Paige, John A. McDermid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The benefits ascribed to Agile methods are attractive to software engineers working in the safety-critical software domain. There is limited industrial experience and evidence of successful applications of Agile methods in this domain; however, academic research has identified some of the key challenges of their adoption and application, and has started to present feasibility studies. In this paper, we propose an iterative approach for developing safety-critical software, making two novel contributions. Firstly, we address the notion of up-front design in safety-critical software development, and describe the characteristics of an up-front design that is minimal from the perspective of achieving safety objectives. Secondly, we identify a key difficulty of using iterative development for building safety-critical software, and present a way to develop both a software system and a safety argument iteratively. We also give details of a proof-of-concept example illustrating the use of the approach.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgile 2010 Conference
EditorsSallyann Fruedenberg, Joseph Chao
Place of PublicationLos Alamitos, CA
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780769541259
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventAgile Development Conference: 2010 Agile Conference - Orlando, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201013 Aug 2010


ConferenceAgile Development Conference
Abbreviated titleAGILE 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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