Book A.

Book B.
7150 Requirements Guidance

Book C.

References, & Terms

(NASA Only)

SWE-063 - Release Version Description

1. Requirements

3.3.5 The project shall provide a Software Version Description document for each software release.

1.1 Notes

The requirement for the content of a Software Version Description document is defined in Chapter 5 [of NPR 7150.2, NASA Software Engineering Requirements, Section 5.2.8.]

1.2 Applicability Across Classes

Class D and Not Safety Critical is labeled with "P (Center)." This means that an approved Center-defined process which meets a non-empty subset of the full requirement can be used to achieve this requirement. 

Class F and Class G are labeled with "X (not OTS)." This means that this requirement does not apply to off-the-shelf software for these classes.





























Key:    A_SC = Class A Software, Safety-Critical | A_NSC = Class A Software, Not Safety-Critical | ... | - Applicable | - Not Applicable
X - Applicable with details, read above for more | P(C) - P(Center), follow center requirements or procedures

2. Rationale

Software systems and work products undergo multiple builds, reviews, and rebuild cycles before reaching a fully operational state. Even then, modifications, error corrections, expanded requirements sets, and even code reuse on other projects result in newer versions of the coded product. The configuration control of these versions, many of which may be used simultaneously on different projects, requires detailed descriptions to assure the correct work is being performed on the released version of interest.

3. Guidance

The Software Version Description (SVD) document is the definitive record of all components of a released software work product, whether it is for internal or external release. The SVD defines a set of dependencies among work products that are part of the complete software release. It provides a description of the contents of a specific software work product release, the methods and resources needed to re-create the software work product, known changes, uncorrected problems, as well as differences from the prior software release(s). Use of a template 368 for developing the SVD can ease the initial work load required to develop the baseline SVD.

The SVD includes the scheme for the identification and classification of software item records and information items and their versions, how to establish baselines, and version identification and control. The release record identifies, tracks, and controls a configuration item at the time a version (including the baseline version) is released. An SVD document for each release lists the items being delivered, including system and software item versions, traceability to specifications or previous releases, what has been changed, known problems, and workarounds. It may include installation or delivery instructions unique to the version described. Version information may come from the software architecture, the software detailed design, and/or the source code. Problem information may come from inspections, bug tracking or the results of static analysis. If a version control system is used, to be effective, it will include the date, time, and size of each software work product. The resulting information from running a checksum algorithm may be included for additional identification and control of the software work product.

NPR 2210.1C, Release of NASA Software, 373 provides procedural requirements for developers and organizations to prepare and release software work products external to NASA or between Centers. Appendix C of the NPR 2210.1 contains a software release checklist flow chart. A Software Release Request Authorization (SRRA) form may be used in connection with NPR 2210.1 to streamline and condense the workflow required for releasing software. A Software Release Authority is required as a part of the process. Typically, a software usage agreement is required, except when the release of the software occurs between civil servants at the same Center, or within a project. The NPR 2210.1 requires the releasing organization to show compliance with NASA-STD-8719.13, NASA Software Safety Standard, 271 and NASA-STD-8739.8, Software Assurance Standard 278. The release must also consider federal law provisions in Section 508 404 of the US Rehabilitation Act.

Each software release version must have a version number associated with it. A "release" consists of all the components and their associated version numbers. 276 Versioning keeps the changes straight and allows "roll back" to previous versions, if a bug is found later in the software life cycle (see SWE-019). Versioning is part of software configuration management. It involves archiving the source code and keeping previous versions when a new version is entered into the configuration management system. Because an updated SVD (Software Version Description) document is released with each version of the software, there may be several SVD documents in circulation if different team members are working on different versions of the software work product. Configuration management and control is necessary for all versions to maintain control and to avoid misinformation.

Additional guidance related to the releasing of the SVD may be found in the work products generated by the following related requirements in this Handbook:


Deliver Software Products


As-built Documentation


Software Configuration Management Plan


Software Maintenance Plan


Software Data Dictionary


Software User Manual


Software Version Description (contents)

4. Small Projects

No additional guidance is available for small projects. The community of practice is encouraged to submit guidance candidates for this paragraph.

5. Resources

5.1 Tools

Tools to aid in compliance with this SWE, if any, may be found in the Tools Library in the NASA Engineering Network (NEN).

NASA users find this in the Tools Library in the Software Processes Across NASA (SPAN) site of the Software Engineering Community in NEN.

The list is informational only and does not represent an “approved tool list”, nor does it represent an endorsement of any particular tool. The purpose is to provide examples of tools being used across the Agency and to help projects and centers decide what tools to consider.

6. Lessons Learned

A documented lesson from the NASA Lessons Learned database notes the following:

Aquarius Reflector Over-Test Incident. Lesson Number 2419.  "The Aquarius reflector was damaged by over-testing during a 2007 test in the JPL acoustic test chamber. The root cause was attributed to a procedural deviation, and the proximate cause was identified as a test control system safing feature that did not activate. This may have been affected by the procedural deviation, but more likely resulted from test control software that had not been updated to the current version. The Aquarius Special Review Board issued a set of recommendations that may help to avoid future over-test incidents 573."