Spotlight on SpiraPlan 7.0: FMEA Risk Management Comes To Town

January 27th, 2022 by inflectra

As part of the upcoming release of Spira 7.0 in a few months' time, we have added a new plugin architecture that lets us add new specialty features and integrations more easily. In the future, it will also allow customers and partners to build extensions to Spira. We previously mentioned some of the planned plugins we have coming - GitHub, GitLab. In addition, we have a new plugin that will provide support for Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA) in the Risk Management module in SpiraPlan.

What is FMEA Risk Management?

In traditional risk management processes (e.g. PRINCE2), you have two key measures of risk:

  • Probability - how likely the risk is to happen) on a numeric scale (e.g. 1-5)
  • Impact - how severe the risk will be if that happens on a numeric scale (e.g. 1-5)

You then calculate the exposure of the risk using this simple formula:

Risk Exposure = Impact X Probability

When looking at safety risks in manufacturing and hardware systems, the traditional risk management framework is extended to handle the additional concept of detectability, since if a risk is harder to detect, it makes it more important to manage.

When using an FMEA approach/methodology, there are actually three key measures:

  • Probability - how likely the risk is to happen) on a numeric scale (e.g. 1-5)
  • Impact - how severe the risk will be if that happens on a numeric scale (e.g. 1-5)
  • Detectability - how easy it is to observe the risk on a numeric scale)

You then calculate the Risk Priority Number (RPN) using this simple formula:

Risk Priority Number (RPN) = Impact X Probability X Detectability

FMEA Risk Management Plugin

In Spira 7.0, you will be able to go to the list of plugins and active for specific products, the new FMEA plugin. This will enable the additional FMEA risk management features in the specific product:

When you enable this feature, the Risk details page in SpiraPlan will show two additional fields - detectability (a dropdown the user can select) and RPN, a calculated integer field. When you change the values of probability, impact, or detectability, the FMEA plugin will automatically calculate the new value of RPN and display it:

Risk screen with detectability and RPN visible

In addition, for audit purposes, when you change and save the values, the history tab of the Risk will show the history of the changes in probability, impact, and detectability as well as the change in RPN number:

Risk history page showing risk changes captured in audit log

Finally, the new Spira plugin architecture allows plugins to display custom widgets in the Product dashboards for the first time. If you go to the Product dashboard, you will be able to add a plugin widget to the dashboard, which will show the top product risks, ranked in order of descending RPN value. This is similar to the built-in Risk widget, except that it uses the RPN value (instead of Exposure) and uses a different customizable color-coding.

FMEA Risk Widget in Product Dashboard

With this new plugin, we now have built-in support for both traditional (e.g. PRINCE2) risk management and FMEA risk management, all in the same system.

risk management risks fmea detectability risk priority number

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