Are Checklists Really Necessary?

DO-254 ChecklistNo one really likes filling out checklists for reviews. So do you have to have them?  Truthfully, the answer is no. But for practical reasons, I'd like to say Yes; because they can be a very helpful tool in aiding reviews and showing evidence of compliance to DO-254 objectives.

Many of the verification objectives in DO-254 will be satisfied by reviews and analysis.  When you perform reviews to satisfy objectives in DO-254 you need to provide evidence that they were performed with the correct independence and on a controlled, retrievable version of the data under review.  You also need a way to show that the specific objective was evaluated and any actions were recorded and resolved in a revised, released version of the data.  Checklists provide an excellent means to do this.

Now if you're doing to take my advice and use checklists, here are a few helpful hints:

  • Annotate and connect checklist items to the development and verification planning standards and activities.
  • Develop checklists of a reasonable size so as to be manageable. The point is to help remind reviewers to check items that are required by the standards and activities.
  • Remember to include the names and roles of the reviewers, the version and title/number of the items under review (including any other items needed to evaluate the data item under review such as trace matrix, standards, etc.)
  • Be sure that actions recorded from the review are tied back to the questions on the checklist. This ensures you can show evidence that all the review evaluations have been considered and actions closed.
  • Show how each action was resolved and in which version of the data item it was resolved.
  • Most importantly know where you keep all these checklists for when the auditor asks for them.  Remember these are verification outputs and should be treated with the same formality as Test results.

Remember checklists are verification outputs and should be treated with the same formality as Test results.

If you need a set of checklists, our partner company Airworthiness Certification Services offers templates and checklists. These industry-leading checklists and templates have been used in programs in all regions of the world for many years, and are very reasonably priced.

Tammy Reeve | DER Exoert

Tammy Reeve has been involved in the certification of hardware (DO-254), software (DO-178C), and systems (ARP 4754A and related) for nearly 20 years.

Tammy Reeve
Patmos Engineering Services, Inc.