DO-178C Top Mistakes

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For persons already familiar with DO-178C facts, this paper explains common mistakes deploying DO178C and how to prevent DO-178C problems.    Helpful to reduce DO-178C costs while minimizing DO-178C risks.

Golf and avionics software seemingly have little in common. However, their commonalities are more profound than expected. Consider common traits of golf and DO-178C according to golf expert Carson Mandic:
➢ Both seem easy to start up, but complexities befuddle beginners
➢ Both seem cheap to engage initially, but become more expensive once competitions are entered
➢ Their official rule books have vagaries which take years to master
➢ Both can be played for fun with little effort, but when engaging for profit, the stress grows immensely
➢ Rules are monitored by both player and referees: subjectivity abounds
➢ Capability improves directly with training, then practice
➢ Your second attempt will be more successful than your first
➢ Among many participants, few are experts.

Like professional golf, DO-178C success requires continually improving skills while minimizing mistakes. Improving DO-178C skills is the focus of other books, whitepapers, and training developed by this author. But what are the common, and not-so-common, mistakes encountered when engaging DO-178C?

First, it is important to realize that even experienced DO-178 aficionados consider DO-178C to be subjective, vague, and generic; yet avionics certification requires strict conformance combined with exceptionally high quality. Given infinite resources of time and budget, DO-178C success can be achieved. However, the competitive landscape of avionics, both commercial and military, is just that: competitive. Therefore, the goal is to achieve DO-178C compliance while meeting (and hopefully surpassing) the competition. Such success requires developing avionics software and achieving certification via the most expedient and productive path possible; while avoiding any major mistakes.

Remember, bad luck is not the cause of mistakes, just as those same mistakes are not prevented through good luck. Mistakes are the result of a lack of understanding, planning for, and applying DO-178C’s true intent and hidden rules. As professional golfer Arnold Palmer once quipped after a particularly spectacular tournament win: “Me, Lucky? I’ve found that the more I practice, the luckier I become!” With the information herein, it is hoped that your own “luck” increases with your successful DO-178C practice and error-proofing your processes to eliminate the common mistakes.

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