Testing technology and software systems is crucial for successful product development. Inappropriate or late tests, underestimated testing efforts, or wrong test technology choices have often led projects to crisis as well as failure. This crisis is usually due to negligence of the imbalance between constructive software engineering and analytic quality assurance. The most appropriate way of handling such a situation is to perform safety testing during the process of software or program development. By doing so, the engineer can avoid future failures and frustration, as well as keep a track of errors and hazards in the system.
Safety testing in software systems aims at optimizing system safety in the design, development, use, and maintenance of software systems and their integration with safety-critical hardware systems in a production environment. It verifies and validates all the testable Software Safety Significant Requirements, in accordance with their assigned LOR, through Software Developmental and System Integration Testing, which is executed to verify the implementation of mitigations, uncovers safety anomalies, and identify and/or verify the resolution of hazards. Safety Testing ensures that the functioning software does not generate hazards and that the monitoring systems must perform flawlessly. Example: Back-up computer should start automatically when primary computer fails.
Testing products and their process of development is a necessary requirement. It allows developer the opportunity to check for faulty features or identify undetected errors or bugs. Similarly, Safety Testing in software systems too is immensely useful for various reasons. It provides a proper analysis of system and its design, properties, data and other features that may or may not cause a safety crisis or failure of the software. Mentioned here are some of the most common failure mechanisms that should be evaluated during the safety analysis process:
The single most important step that precedes all other phases of safety program is software system safety planning and management. Safety planning should be used to impose provisions for accommodating safety well before each of the software life cycle phases, like requirements, design, coding, and testing starts in the cycle.
By performing a detailed planning before the execution of test cycles, a programmer can ensure that critical program interfaces and support are identified and formal lines of communication are established between disciplines and among engineering functions. Also, there should be planned provisions that can assure best results. To assist a programmer in executing these aspects, here is a check list of things that needs to be taken care of while planning a software system safety testing.
Testing safety-critical software demonstrates that the software complies with the requirements stated by the programmer and shows the errors which could result in a hazard. This type of testing ensure that the monitoring system performs flawlessly and there are no errors left undetected. However, to achieve this it is necessary to follow the below mentioned guidelines while creating software test cases:
The Safety Assessment Report contains the details of the safety analysis performed on a system, like the test conducted, the analysis performed and their results as well as the compliance assessment. The main purpose of this report is to provide management with an overall assessment of the risk associated with the system, including the software executing within the system context of an operational environment. Following are some of the information that a safety assessment report provides:
Safety Testing in Software Systems ensures that contributing factors and resultant hazards associated with the system are identified and eliminated. In complex systems where there are many interactions involved, the safety–critical functionality too is identified and thoroughly analysed. Furthermore, it validates that the system and its design, data, development, use and maintenance is of exceptional quality; no hazards, errors or bug are left undetected and the results match the requirements of the tester. Hence, Safety Testing provides the testers and programmers a golden opportunity to test their products for any risk before they are delivered and also ensures cost effective development.