How to Manage Safety-Critical Product Risks in Jira – New Features of SoftComply Risk Manager and Risk Manager Plus

Risk management is a regulatory requirement for safety-critical products. Without compliant risk management most of these products cannot reach their users.

With more and more software in safety critical products like medical devices or cars, software developers now also have to manage the risks during the development to ensure the safety of these products. The exact requirements for safety critical risk management depend on the domain but establishing full traceability (links) between software requirements, risks and test cases is required by all.

Over 130’000 companies worldwide are using Jira today, including an increasing amount of safety critical product developers. This is why SoftComply has developed risk management apps for Jira that automate compliant risk management for regulated domains.

SoftComply Risk Manager and SoftComply Risk Manager Plus both support product risk management specifically in the regulated domains.

While SoftComply Risk Manager provides its users with a compliant Hazard Analysis template, then Risk Manager Plus provides templates for both Hazard Analysis (top down) as well as FMEA (bottom up) risk analysis methods. Also, risks are visualized only in the Initial and Residual Risk Matrices when using the Risk Manager while in the Risk Manager Plus users can choose whether they want to visualize risks in Risk Matrices or in Risk Prioritization Numbers (RPN). Furthermore, users can add a third (Detectability) parameter in addition to Occurrence and Severity in their FMEA risk projects for more detailed RPN calculations.

SoftComply Risk Manager and Risk Manager Plus have a familiar interface for those (majority) who have used Excel for risk management before as the Risk Management Table looks like a spreadsheet. Despite having ready-made compliant risk management templates, users can further customize the Risk Management Table themselves.

Following is a list of new features that are available in both apps on Jira Server to provide additional flexibility to risk management.

Risk Versioning

For tracking the changes in risk management overtime, you may want to take a snapshot of risks at any given time and store that snapshot before continuing with managing or mitigating the risks. We have described a way how to manually do risk versioning earlier, but to help our users who have requested saving a status of Risk Management Table as a pdf instead we have developed this simple alternative versioning feature as well.

You can now export the entire Risk Management Table as a pdf file and store it as a snapshot of the status of risks in a certain moment of time.

 

User-enabled Sorting of Data in the Risk Management Table

Data in the Risk Management Table has so far been automatically sorted – the sorting algorithm starts from the left-most column of the table and sorts the column alphabetically. Each column is then sorted alphabetically from left to right. This provides an easy-to-read structure to the table.

Users can now disable the automatic sorting to sort the data by a column of their own choosing instead. User-enabled sorting is a project specific feature, i.e. user will have to enable it in each risk project.

To enable sorting, please go to project settings in the bottom left corner of your screen and you will find “Risk Manager” at the bottom of the sidebar that opens up a page.

To enable sorting by columns of user’s choice, please choose the Enable sorting button:

 

After saving this setting, you will be able to choose a column of your own liking that will be used for sorting the data in the Risk Management Table. To select a column, just click on the arrows in the header of the column you want to sort the data of the Risk Management Table by.

By clicking the arrow pointing upwards, the data will be sorted in ascending order in the chosen column while clicking on the arrow pointing downwards, sorts the data in descending order in the chosen column.

 

New Column Types in the Risk Management Table

So far the only type of columns that users could add to the Risk Management Table were text columns. After a few requests from our users, we have implemented the following types of columns that can now be added to the Risk Management Table:

Textarea,

Number,

Date,

Select,

Multi Select,

User,

Version,

Issue Link,

Custom Field, and

Component.

 

Textarea stands for longer than 225-character texts that you may want to add as description to your risks. To save the text you are writing in the textarea cells, please use the confirm button from the floating menu as the keyboard “Enter” will not work in this field type.

Numbers can be used for additional data and calculations you may want to add to your risk data. Only numbers can be entered to this field and you will be able to use “Enter” on your keyboard to save the number.

Date can be used to describe the time risk was entered, mitigated, verified or approved. You can then sort your risks based on these dates if needed.

Select column type enables listing several options users can select from when adding information into the table. You will only be able to choose one option at a time. For example, you may want to add the type of risk based on which subsystem it is affecting, e.g. Software or Hardware, etc.

Multi select column type supports listing several options users can select from and here you can choose several options at once. For example, you may want to add the various components that the risk is affecting, e.g. interface, calculator, algorithm, etc.

User column type enables adding any person from your organization (has to be Jira user) to any risk, e.g. a person who created the risk, a person who reviewed the risk or assigned mitigation action, etc.

Version column type allows you to link your risks to a specific software or project release (i.e. Jira fixVersion field). Jira fixVersions field is used to track time-based milestones in a project and organize releases.

Issue Link column type allows you to add new link type columns to the Risk Management Table. You can also map any existing link type to the Risk Management Table similarily to the already provided Mitigation and Verification link columns. For example, you may want to use a link type “Is Blocked by” in the new link type column to illustrate that some development tasks are blocked by certain risks. You can now have all these links visible in the Risk Management Table as well as traceable since they are also visible in the Traceability column of the table.

Custom field column type allows mapping an existing Jira custom field to the Risk Management Table. For example, if you have a “Responsible” field (type User picker) in Jira customfields already and it is used in various projects, then you do not have to create it again. You can simply select this existing field and map it to the Risk Management Table. Having fewer custom fields in your system will increase your Jira performance and support a more flexible Jira configuration.

Component column allows you to link your risks to a specific Jira Component (Jira project specific components on Component field). According to Atlassian, Jira project components are generic containers for issues. Components can have Component Leads: people who are automatically assigned issues with that component. Components add more structure to projects, breaking it into features, teams, modules, subprojects, and more.

In order to map a Component, you have to choose “Jira issue field” type for your new column and select “Component” as the Jira Issue Field as shown in the figure below:

 

Feel free to try out these new features for free in trial mode by choosing “Try it free” for either the SoftComply Risk Manager Plus or SoftComply Risk Manager. All these new features will shortly be added to the Cloud version of SoftComply Risk Manager as well.

For more information or questions, please contact us at info@softcomply.com

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