A convenient approach for COTS tools qualification

One of the goals of DO-330/ED-215 was to facilitate and to clarify the qualification of commercial tools.

The approach for qualifying COTS tools exploits the definition of stakeholders and the definition of the complementary processes between tool user and tool developer. But the main problem when trying to apply the tool qualification guidance is that a COTS tool is not developed from Tool Operational Requirements defined by a user.

Section §11.3 of DO-330/ED-215 therefore describes a possible means for satisfying the tool qualification objectives in the case of a COTS tool. Section §11.3 addresses this issue by separating the TOR content into two parts:

  • The developer-TOR that is used in developing the tool. It is also used for all verification activities, e.g. verifying the compliance and traceability of Tool requirements.
  • The developer-TOR is supplemented by the TOR provided by the Tool User. The TOR includes or references the developer-TOR, and provides additional information and limitations for the software life cycle processes. This additional information are used for the validation activities

Similarly the Tool Developer also provides a developer-TQP, developer-TCI and developer-TAS limited to its activities, and the Tool-User provides the TQP, TCI and TAS.

Based on this separation, section §11.3 provides tables for typical objectives to be satisfied by the Tool User, and those to be satisfied by the Tool Developer. It also provides typical content of the data shared between the two stakeholders.