Challenges of Scaled Agile for Safety-Critical Systems

  • Jan-Philipp SteghöferEmail author
  • Eric Knauss
  • Jennifer Horkoff
  • Rebekka Wohlrab
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11915)


Automotive companies increasingly adopt scaled agile methods to allow them to deal with their organisational and product complexity. Suitable methods are needed to ensure safety when developing automotive systems. On a small scale, R-Scrum and SafeScrum® are two concrete suggestions for how to develop safety-critical systems using agile methods. However, for large-scale environments, existing frameworks like SAFe or LeSS do not support the development of safety-critical systems out of the box. We, therefore, aim to understand which challenges exist when developing safety-critical systems within large-scale agile industrial settings, in particular in the automotive domain. Based on an analysis of R-Scrum and SafeScrum®, we conducted a focus group with three experts from industry to collect challenges in their daily work. We found challenges in the areas of living traceability, continuous compliance, and organisational flexibility. Among others, organisations struggle with defining a suitable traceability strategy, performing incremental safety analysis, and with integrating safety practices into their scaled way of working. Our results indicate a need to provide practical approaches to integrate safety work into large-scale agile development and point towards possible solutions, e.g., modular safety cases.


Scaled agile Safety-critical systems Software processes R-Scrum SafeScrum 



We thank all participants in our focus group for their insights and their engagement. This work was supported by Software Center (


  1. 1.
    Althammer, E., Schoitsch, E., Sonneck, G., Eriksson, H., Vinter, J.: Modular certification support – the DECOS concept of generic safety cases. In: 6th IEEE International Conference on Industrial Informatics, pp. 258–263, July 2008.
  2. 2.
    Antonino, P.O., Trapp, M.: Improving consistency checks between safety concepts and view based architecture design. In: PSAM12, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA 282 (2014)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Broy, M., Krüger, I.H., Pretschner, A., Salzmann, C.: Engineering automotive software. Proc. IEEE 95(2), 356–373 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cleland-Huang, J., Gotel, O.C., Huffman Hayes, J., Mäder, P., Zisman, A.: Software traceability: trends and future directions. In: Proceedings of the on Future of Software Engineering, pp. 55–69. ACM (2014)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cleland-Huang, J., Vierhauser, M.: Discovering, analyzing, and managing safety stories in agile projects. In: IEEE 26th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE), pp. 262–273, August 2018.
  6. 6.
    Denney, E., Pai, G.: Towards a formal basis for modular safety cases. In: Koornneef, F., van Gulijk, C. (eds.) SAFECOMP 2015. LNCS, vol. 9337, pp. 328–343. Springer, Cham (2015). Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ebert, C., Favaro, J.: Automotive software. IEEE Softw. 34(3), 33–39 (2017). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ebert, C., Jastram, M.: ReqIF: seamless requirements interchange format between business partners. IEEE Softw. 29(5), 82–87 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eckstein, J.: Architecture in large scale agile development. In: Dingsøyr, T., Moe, N.B., Tonelli, R., Counsell, S., Gencel, C., Petersen, K. (eds.) XP 2014. LNBIP, vol. 199, pp. 21–29. Springer, Cham (2014). Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fenn, J.L., Hawkins, R., Williams, P., Kelly, T., Banner, M., Oakshott, Y.: The who, where, how, why and when of modular and incremental certification. In: IET Conference Proceedings, pp. 135–140(5), January 2007Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fitzgerald, B., Stol, K.J., O’Sullivan, R., O’Brien, D.: Scaling agile methods to regulated environments: an industry case study. In: International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2013, pp. 863–872. IEEE Press, Piscataway (2013)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gallina, B., Carlson, J., Hansson, H., et al.: Using safety contracts to guide the integration of reusable safety elements within ISO 26262. In: 21st Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing (PRDC), pp. 129–138. IEEE (2015)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hanssen, G.K., Stålhane, T., Myklebust, T.: SafeScrum®-Agile Development of Safety-Critical Software. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar
  14. 14.
    International Organization for Standardization: Road vehicles - functional safety. ISO 26262:2011, November 2011Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kasauli, R., Knauss, E., Kanagwa, B., Nilsson, A., Calikli, G.: Safety-critical systems and agile development: a mapping study. In: 2018 44th Euromicro Conference on Software Engineering and Advanced Applications (SEAA), pp. 470–477, August 2018Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Knauss, E., Pelliccione, P., Heldal, R., Ågren, M., Hellman, S., Maniette, D.: Continuous integration beyond the team: a tooling perspective on challenges in the automotive industry. In: 10th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, p. 43. ACM (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lisagor, O., Bozzano, M., Bretschneider, M., Kelly, T.: Incremental safety assessment: enabling the comparison of safety analysis results. In: 28th International System Safety Conference (ISSC) (2010)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Maro, S., Steghöfer, J.P., Staron, M.: Software traceability in the automotive domain: challenges and solutions. JSS 141, 85–110 (2018)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mukelabai, M., Nešic, D., Maro, S., Berger, T., Steghöfer, J.P.: Tackling combinatorial explosion: a study of industrial needs and practices for analyzing highly configurable systems. In: 33rd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE) (2018)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Myklebust, T., Stålhane, T., Lyngby, N.: An agile development process for petrochemical safety conformant software. In: 2016 Annual Reliability and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS), pp. 1–6. IEEE (2016)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nair, S., de la Vara, J.L., Melzi, A., Tagliaferri, G., de-la-Beaujardiere, L., Belmonte, F.: Safety evidence traceability: problem analysis and model. In: Salinesi, C., van de Weerd, I. (eds.) REFSQ 2014. LNCS, vol. 8396, pp. 309–324. Springer, Cham (2014). Scholar
  22. 22.
    Putta, A., Paasivaara, M., Lassenius, C.: Benefits and challenges of adopting the scaled agile framework (SAFe): preliminary results from a multivocal literature review. In: Kuhrmann, M., et al. (eds.) PROFES 2018. LNCS, vol. 11271, pp. 334–351. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schooenderwoert, N.V., Shoemaker, B.: Agile Methods for Safety-Critical Systems: A Primer Using Medical Device Examples. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Scotts Valley (2018)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sharvia, S., Papadopoulos, Y.: Integrated application of compositional and behavioural safety analysis. In: Zamojski, W., Kacprzyk, J., Mazurkiewicz, J., Sugier, J., Walkowiak, T. (eds.) Dependable Computer Systems. AINSC, vol. 97, pp. 179–192. Springer, Heidelberg (2011). Scholar
  25. 25.
    Stålhane, T., Myklebust, T., Hanssen, G.: The application of safe scrum to IEC 61508 certifiable software. In: 11th International Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference and the Annual European Safety and Reliability Conference, pp. 6052–6061 (2012)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Wilson, A., Preyssler, T.: Incremental certification and integrated modular avionics. IEEE Aerosp. Electron. Syst. Mag. 24(11), 10–15 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zimmer, B., Bürklen, S., Knoop, M., Höfflinger, J., Trapp, M.: Vertical safety interfaces – improving the efficiency of modular certification. In: Flammini, F., Bologna, S., Vittorini, V. (eds.) SAFECOMP 2011. LNCS, vol. 6894, pp. 29–42. Springer, Heidelberg (2011). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Software Engineering Division, Department of Computer Science and EngineeringChalmers | University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

Personalised recommendations