Behavioral Aspects of Safety-Critical Software Development
Paper in proceeding, 2020

We are becoming increasingly dependent on software systems also for highly critical tasks in society. To minimize the risk of failures, regulatory institutions define standards that software organizations must meet. However, the quality of the safety-critical software is, ultimately, determined by the software engineers' behavior. Even though previous studies have recognized the significance of such behavioral aspects, research that studies them is limited. The aim of this initial study was, therefore, to identify how and in what way, behavioral aspects affect the quality of safety-critical software. Thematic analysis of interviews with six software engineers identified four themes linking developer behavior to safety. Our analysis suggests that developing safety-critical systems imposes stress on software engineers and that to reduce such pressure it is critical to enhance organizational trust. It also indicates that the agile way-of-working has the potential to improve safety by facilitating the sharing of domain knowledge. Our findings provide directions for future studies into these important aspects and can be of wider relevance, in particular for the development of secure software, but potentially also for general software engineering.



Social Norms

Software Engineering


Per Lenberg

University of Gothenburg

Robert Feldt

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Lars Göran Wallgren Tengberg

University of Gothenburg

Lucas Gren

University of Gothenburg

Proceedings - 2020 IEEE/ACM 42nd International Conference on Software Engineering Workshops, ICSEW 2020

9781450379632 (ISBN)

42nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering Workshops, ICSEW 2020
Seoul, South Korea,

Teambaserad utveckling för säkerhet och kvalitet av programvara till flygsystem

VINNOVA (2017-04874), 2017-11-10 -- 2020-12-31.

Subject Categories

Software Engineering

Embedded Systems

Computer Systems



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