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Software lifecycle for Very Small Entities (VSEs)

Industry recognizes Very Small Entities (a Very Small Entity is an enterprise, organization, department or project having up to 25 people) for their contribution of valuable products and services. As software quality increasingly becomes a subject of concern, and as process approaches are maturing and earning the confidence of companies, the use of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 international standards is spreading in organizations of all sizes. However, these standards were not written for VSEs and are consequently difficult to apply in such settings. A Working Group, Working Group 24, has been established to address these difficulties by developing profiles and providing guidance for compliance with ISO software engineering standards. A survey was conducted among very small entities on their utilization of standards, as well as to collect data to identify problems and potential solutions to help very small enterprises apply them.

The guides are based on subsets of appropriate standards elements, referred to as VSE Profiles. The purpose of a VSE profile is to define a subset of ISO/IEC standards relevant to the VSE context, for example, processes and outcomes of ISO/IEC 12207 and products of ISO/IEC 15289. The ISO/IEC 29110 Set of Documents, targeted by audience, has been developed to improve product and/or service quality, and process performance (see table 1). When a new profile is needed, ISO/IEC 29110 Parts 4 and 5 can be developed without impacting existing documents.

Table 1. ISO/IEC 29110 Target Audience

ISO/IEC 29110TitleTarget audience
Part 1 Overview VSEs, assessors, standards producers, tool vendors and methodology vendors
Part 2 Framework and taxonomy Standards producers, tool vendors and methodology vendors. Not intended for VSEs
Part 3 Assessment guide Assessors and VSEs
Part 4 Profile specifications Standards producers, tool vendors and methodology vendors. Not intended for VSEs
Part 5 Management and engineering guide VSEs

Note : Part 5-1-2 (Basic Profile) is available at no cost from ISO

The set of documents is intended to be used by a VSE to establish processes to implement any development approach or methodology including, e.g., agile, evolutionary, incremental, test driven development, etc. based on the organization or project needs of a VSE.

Overview of the set of documents (see figure 1)

ISO/IEC 29110-1, defines the business terms common to the VSEs’ Profile Set of Documents. It introduces processes, lifecycle and standardization concepts, and the ISO/IEC 29110 Set of Documents. It also introduces the characteristics and requirements of a VSE, and clarifies the rationale for VSE-specific profiles, documents, standards and guides.

ISO/IEC 29110-2, introduces the concepts for Software Engineering standardized profile for VSEs, and defines the terms common to the VSEs’ Profile Set of Documents. It establishes the logic behind the definition and application of standardized profiles. It specifies the elements common to all standardized profiles (structure, conformance, assessment) and introduces the taxonomy (catalogue) of ISO/IEC 29110 profiles.

ISO/IEC 29110-3 defines the process assessment guidelines and compliance requirements needed to meet the purpose of the defined VSEs Profiles. ISO/IEC 29110-3 also contains information that can be useful to developers of assessment methods and assessment tools. ISO/IEC 29110-3 is addressed to people who have direct relation with the assessment process, e.g. the assessor and the sponsor of the assessment, who need guidance on ensuring that the requirements for performing an assessment have been met.

ISO/IEC 29110-4-1 provides the specification for all the profiles of the Generic Profile Group. The Generic Profile Group is applicable to VSEs that do not develop critical software products. The profiles are based on subsets of appropriate standards elements. VSEs’ Profiles apply and are targeted to authors/providers of guides and authors/providers of tools and other support material.

ISO/IEC 29110-5-1-2 provides an implementation management and engineering guide for the Basic Profile of the Generic Profile Group described in ISO/IEC IS 29110 Part 4-1. The Basic Profile describes software development of a single application by a single project team with no special risk or situational factors.

Figure 1. ISO/IEC 29110 Set of Documents (ISO/IEC 29110-5-1-2)

References

  • ISO/IEC TR 29110-1, “Software Engineering - Lifecycle Profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) - Part 1:Overview”. Geneva : International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2011.
  • ISO/IEC 29110-2 Software Engineering - Lifecycle Profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) - Part 2 : Framework and Taxonomy, Geneva : International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2011.

Available at : http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=51151

  • ISO/IEC TR 29110-3, “Software Engineering - Lifecycle Profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) - Part 3 : Assessment Guide”. Geneva : International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2010.
  • ISO/IEC 29110-4-1, “Software Engineering — Lifecycle Profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) - Part 4-1 : Specification- VSE Generic Profile Group”. Geneva : International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2011.

Available at : http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=51154

  • ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2, “Software Engineering - Lifecycle Profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) - Part 5-1-2 : Management and engineering guide - Generic profile group : Basic profile”. Geneva : International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2011.

ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2 is available at no cost from ISO