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Assurance Process for Complex Electronics

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Complex Electronics DESIGN PROCESS

MAP TO PROJECT LIFE CYCLE

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Mapping Complex Electronics Design to Project Life Cycle

The life cycle for complex electronics design is a subset of the total project or system life cycle. However, complex electronics also follows the same basic development process as the project. To understand how the two fit together, this section provides:

Terminology used for life cycle phases varies within NASA, other government agencies, and industry. The terms used here are a commonly defined set. The listed project activities are meant to define the main activities the project will be performing. The life cycle is defined as a Waterfall life cycle because it is conceptually easy to understand. The actual timing of the phases and activities will vary with the chosen system life cycle, such as a spiral or iterative model.

The mapping between complex electronics activities and project life cycle phases is meant as a guideline only. The actual time when an activity is performed is dependent of the project, the life cycle chosen for system development, and the complex electronics type.

Project Life Cycle Phase

Project Activities

Complex Electronics (CE) Activities

Concept (Conceptual Design)

  • Define system concept
  • Identify system requirements
  • Planning for:
    • Project tracking and control
    • Supporting processes (e.g. configuration management, quality assurance, safety)
    • Verification

 

Preliminary Design

  • Allocate system requirements to sub-systems
  • Trade-off studies
  • Create preliminary system design
  • Identify interfaces
  • Perform supporting processes
  • Planning
  • Determine CE requirements
  • Feasibility studies
  • Architectural design
  • Design verification

Detailed Design

  • Refine system design
  • Prepare for implementation
  • Baseline system design and interfaces
  • Perform supporting processes
  • Design Entry
  • Synthesis
  • Simulation
  • Timing Analysis
  • Design verification

Implementation and Integration

  • Turn system design into hardware/software
  • Put the pieces together
  • Low-level testing
  • Perform supporting processes
  • Floorplanning
  • Place and Route
  • Program/Manufacture
  • Device testing
  • Integration with other electronics

Test, Verification, Validation

  • System-level testing
  • Acceptance testing/Validation
  • Complete verification activities
  • Perform supporting processes
  • Functional testing
  • Environmental testing
  • Complete verification activities

Operations and Maintenance

  • Install system
  • Operate system
  • Perform routine maintenance
  • Repair and upgrade
  • Perform supporting processes
  • Upgrade CE (if reprogrammable)

In the table above, the project “preliminary design” phase included the planning, requirements, and preliminary design for the complex electronics. The life cycles section of this assurance plan relates to the life cycle for complex electronics, and not for the project as a whole. Therefore, planning and requirements are broken out into separate phases.

The complex electronics development activities are grouped into the following phases:

Design Process

Complex Electronics (CE) Activities

Planning

  • Planning (for development, verification, safety, and assurance)

Requirements

  • Determine CE requirements
  • Feasibility studies

Preliminary Design

  • Architectural design
  • Design Entry
  • Design verification

Detailed Design

  • Synthesis
  • Simulation
  • Timing Analysis
  • Design verification

Implementation

  • Floorplanning
  • Place and Route
  • Program/Manufacture
  • Device testing

Integration and Testing

  • Integration with other electronics
  • Testing at board or sub-system level
  • Functional testing at system level
  • Environmental testing
  • Complete verification activities

Operations and Maintenance

  • Upgrade CE (if reprogrammable)

Verification and Validation (V&V) are not included in the above table, because they are processes that occur throughout the life cycle. For example, testing is one method to verify that the system meets the requirements. An acceptance test or demonstration is a validation activity if the customer uses it to determine if the system is performing as the customer expects. Tests usually occur later in the project life cycle. Prototyping and simulation are early-life cycle validation activities. Reviews at each life cycle phase that determine that product (design architecture, low-level design, and test procedure) correctly and completely meet the requirements are verification activates.

 

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Curator: Richard Plastow
NASA Official: Cynthia Calhoun
Last Updated: 02/23/2006