Category Archives: DO-278A

Similarity between Academic paper and Requirements

When researcher writes academic paper, one of important thing is to make structure. Usually research is one’s own study so it is hard to understand for people who are not interested in the topic. So s/he has to consider how to reader can understand easily.

S/he also consider internal consistency for better understanding.

I realized that writing requirement is quite similar to write an academic paper. If requirements are written without consideration of structure, it is hard to understand. Readers cannot understand what are system’s sub systems, what are functions allocated to sub-systems.

It is not technical point of view. But if they are not clear it is hard to defense against audit, because auditor will confuse it and will not understand what you are saying.

Then s/he will not give a good grade.




Functional safety manager can’t assure that this product is safe. instead, he/she knows that it is not safe.

There is saying about interview. An interviewer cannot make a interviewee be hired but can make him/her failed to be hired. I believe that this is true and a similar correspondence can be possible in the functional safety project.

I review functional safety documents frequently, and functional safety scope is too vast for one person to know everything fully so I sometimes conduct incomplete review. Incomplete review means that even though I approve it, it cannot be ensured that it is fully achieved.

Because I understand my weakness, I tried to find nonconformances in the documents. At least I’m first auditor in this project. And if I don’t agree, then it cannot be proceed. In the near future, I have to respond against customer auditor’s questions. There should be some layers of reviewers like me. They act as if ‘safety-nets’ in the project, and they protect systematic faults in the project.

Final reviewer shall be customer side auditors(or assessors). In some ways, customer have to not only have a deep knowledge about product knowledge but also have a deep technical functional safety knowledge. If a person does not have both, team has to be arranged. And who does not have a deep knowledge about the project but has a functional safety knowledge has to enough review experience whether the product under review is well documented or not. And he has to help a customer side product champion to determine whether supplier’s safety concepts or their approaches are good to satisfy their safety requirements.

But…. even though they conduct such audit or assess, they cannot ensure that safety is fully achieved.

Power of your words

To be a functional safety manager, it is very important to have a power of words. As a functional safety manager, if my asking, which is a request somebody to do something, sounds like a dog’s barking, what will happen?

I remember a Sun Tzu’s history. Sun Tzu is an author of “The art of War”. He believed that usage of military strategy is effective compared to just “fighting”. It is natural, but at that time there was no such a concept of strategy.

At first his concept is not accepted when he was appointed as a war strategist. King said that if your word is true, show me using my several maid of honor.

They felt that it is a fun. But he is very serious. He felt hurt in his pride. So he commands but they did not follow.

He considered this situation is a violation of military rule, and its punishment is beheading of two heads of maid of honor.

The king was in panic, and they were also. King tried to hesitate him, but he killed both.

So, how will you change your environment? You cannot kill people, how can you make them change their perception? How can you cultivate culture of functional safety?


This story might help you how to start.