DO-178C Software Development Plan (SDP)

In this article, we will discuss about software development plan document. The software development plan (SDP) is a key planning document that is required for any airborne software development process as per DO-178B/C.

What is SDP?

There are five key planning documents that need to be created during the project planning process –

  1. Plan for Software Aspects of Certification [PSAC]
  2. Software Development Plan [SDP]
  3. Software Verification Plan [SVP]
  4. Software Configuration Management Plan [SCMP]
  5. Software Quality Assurance Plan [SQAP]

So, clearly, SDP is one of the key deliverables during the software planning process.

The Software Development Plan (SDP) is a description of the software development procedures and software life cycle(s) to be used to satisfy the software development process activities.

What does SDP contains?

The software development plan document should include the following sections –

  1. Standards: This section should include the applicable standards of the project. identification of Software Requirements Standards, Software Design Standards, Software Code Standards, Software Model Standards. In case of COTS software, the references should be provided if different standards were followed to develop COTS software.
  2. Software life Cycle: A description of the software life cycle processes to be used in the project,, including the transition criteria for the software development process. This description is different than the summary provided in the Plan for Software Aspects of Certification (PSAC). The description should provide the necessary detail to ensure proper implementation of the software life cycle process.
  3. Software Development Environment: This section should include the chosen software development environment in terms of hardware and software –
    1. The design methods and tools to be used.
    2. The requirement development methods and tools to be used.
    3. The coding methods, programming languages, coding tools to be used. Also, need to mention the option and constraints of auto code generators when applicable.
    4. The compliers, linkage editors, and loaders to be used.
    5. The hardware platforms for the tools to be used.
    6. The modelling methods, modelling languages, and modelling tools to be used.


In this article, I have briefly explained the software development plan document and the contents of the SDP document as per DO-178C. This is one of the key planning document in software planning phase. I hope this article would be helpful for your better understanding. If you have any question/concerns, please feel free to comment below.

DO-178C Software Development Plan (SDP)

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