Agile Development of Safety-critical Software Workshop Proposals

Workshop summary
Development, certification and maintenance of safety-critical software systems is complex and costly. In particular, having a high safety integrity system certified according to mandatory standards such as IEC61508 (process), DO178C (avionics) or EN50128 (railway) is fundamental to keep a competitive advantage but also one of the most severe cost drivers. An estimated 25-50% of total costs may be related to documentation of proof of compliance to standards and the assessment by external certification bodies. The established practice in the industry is to base development on extensive up-front planning with a consecutive strict focus on plan adherence in the development phase and late verification and validation of the solution being built. However, this approach gives low flexibility and a risk of discovering critical problems at a late stage where correction costs are high.

The trend of implementing larger parts of safety system in software has led to a growing interest in agile software development methods and techniques to improve performance with respect to development efficiency, system quality and safety integrity, as well as resource optimisation and effective assessment and certification. This raises a series of challenges, for example how to adapt agile principles to large and complex projects, how to implement changes in a conservative and plan-driven practice, how to involve external certification and notified bodies, and how to enable efficient and cost effective traceability and documentation management.

This event will be the second international workshop addressing industrial and scientific challenges related to the adoption of agile methods and techniques to improve development and certification of safety-critical and high-integrity systems. The workshop will invite leading experts to share insights into needs, opportunities, and ideas to shape an important research field.

The workshop will be based on mix of presentations by an invited key- note speaker (to be announced later) and by authors of accepted papers as well as presentations based on extended abstracts. Around 40% of the time will be reserved for discussions.

Invited Keynote: Hardware can be agile
Nancy Van Schooenderwoert Nancy Van Schooenderwoert will give an opening key-note speech at the ASCS workshop in Edinburgh on May 24th. The title is “Hardware can be Agile”. She will look into how an agile development process can be used to synchronise software and hardware development, one of the challenges we see in development of safety critical systems. Nancy was among the first to apply Agile methods to embedded systems development, as an engineer, manager, and consultant. Beginning in 1998 she has led Agile change initiatives beyond software development in safety-critical, highly regulated industries, and coached clients in the art of Agile technical and management leadership.

Important Dates

Workshop topics
The workshop aims to cover a variety of topics, including but not limited to the following list:

Submission guidelines
We solicit two types of contributions to the workshop:

Workshop papers will be considered for publication in XP 2016 ACM conference proceedings and must adhere to ACM's general guidelines. Submissions must be original work, not previously published or under evaluation for another event. Extended abstracts can be up to 2 pages, explaining an idea, a concept or results.

Authors of accepted submissions will have to hold a presentation at the workshop. Expected length of the presentation will be 20+- minutes.

Proposals must be submitted through the conference submission site

Review process
All papers will be peer-reviewed by two reviewers. Authors of accepted submissions will have to update their manuscript before the camera-ready deadline.

Workshop structure
The workshop will be based on presentations by an invited key-note speaker (to be announced) and by authors of accepted papers. Around 40% of the time will be reserved for discussions in the audience. Depending on the number of participants we will make use of techniques like world café, open space or simply voting for top-prioritised topics for an open discussion.

Organising Committee
Geir Hanssen, SINTEF
Tim Kelly, York University
Osama Doss, York University
Borge Haugset, SINTEF

For further information please send an email to