FAQ on Formal Methods in Industry
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General Information on FM (G)
This section provides some general background introductory questions introducing what are formal methods (FM), with what kind of issue can they handled elegantly, what are the risks, why is their use still quite targeted ?
Understanding Impact on the System Development Process
Introducing formal methods in an organisation is a big challenge. The gain vs impact balance can widely vary depending on the deployment strategy in term of scope (specific lifecycle steps or more vertical), the kind of interconnection with artefacts and way it is "packaged" within the domain development culture. To detail those impacts, we examine the following sub-categories:
Quality Improvement (QI)
The impact of formal methods on the quality of work products developed at various stages of the development life cycle, on the quality of the final product delivered to customers, and on the productivity at various stages of the development life cycle
- FAQ - What impact does the use of formal engineering methods have on the identification of issues at each phase of development cycle?
- FAQ - How is the productivity of the various stages of the system development cycle affected when formal engineering methods are used ?
Exploiting Models (EM)
The capability to exploit formal models at various stages (and in various process areas) of the development life cycle.
- FAQ - Is there any guidance on the cost/benefit trade-off of using different validation techniques (formal vs. non-formal and also between formal methods)?
- FAQ - Is it possible to take advantage of formal models beyond using them to guarantee certain properties of a system?
Control Impact of Formalism (CIF)
The capability to phase the learning of a formal method in an organisation and eventually to limit the scope of who must understand and become experts in selected formal methods
- FAQ - How do organizational procedures used in various system development life cycle processes need to be adapted when formal methods are introduced?
- FAQ - Can the use of a formal method be hidden from most of development and management teams except to a few selected experts?
- FAQ - What are there risks of hiding the use of formal methods and what are the strategies to mitigate them?
Migration to a Formalism (MF)
The capability to phase the migration to using a formal method (given the existence of products and work products not initially developed using formal methods)
- FAQ - To what extend does the migration to using a formal method on an existing system require reworking existing artefacts ?
Reuse across development projects (R)
The capability to develop systematic reuse strategies and to reuse artefacts across development projects when using formal methods. (This also includes for example, reuse of strategies for proving behaviour correctness)
- FAQ - When using a formal method efficiently, does it become more natural to design generic, reusable components than when using non formal methods?
Training Scope and Resourcing (TSP)
Introducing formal methods means having to train This section deals with the impact on an organisation with regards to training scope and resourcing
- FAQ - How much do QA Practitioners need to understand about the formal engineering methods being used?
Known Strengths and Weaknesses of Tools and Tool Providers (TOOL)
The known strengths and weaknesses of tools associated to a formal method as well as the quality of support by tool providers
- FAQ - Are the tools associated to a particular formalism backed by responsive, robust and enduring organisations that follow proven software development processes and that can provide quality user support?
- FAQ - Do tools associated to a particular formalism run on widely available platforms and on most of their current versions?
External Factor Pushing for Formal Method Adoption (ExFac)
The external factors (from competition, standard bodies, laws) pushing take-up of formal methods
- FAQ - In what sectors or in what industry is the culture strongly pushing or enforcing the use of formal methods?
- FAQ - In what sectors or themes have customers been advocating or demanding the application of formal methods in their projects?