Friday, 31 October 2008

The IEEE software standards

The IEEE software standards is a very useful set of documents, even if you're not in an organisation that is into particularly formal software development methods. The standards do not necessarily have to be implemented to use the information they contain.
For example, they can be a good starting point if you're ever asked to plan or produce documents such as a software requirements specification (SRS), software configuration management plan (SCM plan), or a software architecture document (although for this I've found HP have available a much more usable document, "A Template for Documenting Software and Firmware Architectures").

The only downside is that they are not free, but many organizations have IEEE membership and have the standards available for employees.

Here's the list of IEEE standards and guides I've found to be of use, in no particular order, vaguely grouped for readability:

Project Management
  • 1490 - Adoption of PMI Standard - A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) - A guide to project management knowledge and practices in general widespread use.
  • 1045 - Standard for Software Productivity Metrics - A bit dated, but the practices and concepts it gives for measuring productivity are well described.
  • 1058 - Standard for Software Project Management Plans - Worth a look if you're unsure as to what you'll need to put in a project management plan, but a little too specific to the IEEE way of doing things.
  • ISO/IEC 12207.0 - Software Life Cycle Processes - Attempts to classify all the processes that contribute to software, and puts them into a framework.
  • ISO/IEC 12207.1 - Software Life Cycle Processes - Life Cycle Data - Attempts to classify all the processes that contribute to software, and puts them into a framework.
  • 982.1 - Standard Dictionary of Measures to Produce Reliable Software - A bit ancient (1988), but tries to give a description of measures that can be made on software and software projects that indicate the quality of the software, with all the mathematical rigour that involves.
  • 1220 - Standard for Application and Management of the Systems Engineering Process - Similar to 1074, again use CMMI instead.

Software Engineering
  • Guide to the Software Engineering body of Knowledge (SWEBOK) - Available here. A guide to software engineering knowledge and practices in general widespread use.
  • 610 - Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology - A little dated, and leans towards IEEE understanding (as opposed to widespread understanding) of some terms, but can still be useful for reference, and is referenced by most other IEEE standards.
  • 828 - Standard for Software Configuration Management Plans - If you need to produce an SCM plan and have nowhere to start, this will show you the way. Also discusses useful activities involved in managing and adhering to a SCM plan.
  • 1002 - Taxonomy for Software Engineering Standards - Also quite ancient. A taxonomy is a method for classification, and this describes how a set of standards can be chosen to cover all necessary areas of software engineering.
  • 1028 - Standard for Software Reviews - Gives criteria and practices for reviewing software - be it for development, acquisition or operation.
  • 1061 - Standard for a Software Quality Metrics Methodology - Aimed at those measuring or assessing the quality of software, in a formal manner.
  • 1074 - Standard for Developing Software Life Cycle Processes - Attempts to define a way of creating a good sw process. Not half as useful as CMMI.
  • 1471 - Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-intensive Systems - A version of Kruchen 4+1 for software architecture.
  • 1042 - Guide to Software Configuration Management - Practices for performing SCM, and managing SC items within a project.

  • 730.1 - Guide for Software Quality Assurance Planning - Great if you need to write and manage a Software Quality Assurance Plan, and have no idea of where to start - this lists and discusses the contents of such a document and good practices involved in managing it.
  • 730 - Standard for Software Quality Assurance Plans - A lot more detailed than 730.1, and gives the format and content requirements a SQA plan should meet to conform to the IEEE standard.
  • 830 - Recommended Practice for Software Requirements Specifications - Describes what should be contained in a good (albeit formal) SRS, and gives several example outlines of SRS documents.
  • 1062 - Recommended Practice for Software Acquisition - Obtaining and using the right software, that's right for your needs is not an easy task. This gives some useful practices on performing this task.
  • 1063 - Standard for Software User Documentation - Good practices for putting the relevant information into your user documentation.
  • 1219 - Standard for Software Maintenance - This standard describes an iterative process for managing and executing software maintenance activities.
  • 1228 - Standard for Software Safety Plans - Establishes criteria for the content of a software safety plan.
  • 1233 - Guide for Developing System Requirements Specifications - A guide to obtaining and managing requirements in an SRS.

  • 829 - Standard for Software Test Documentation - Gives a description of what should be in software test documentation (cases, logs, plans etc), and why. Gives the form and content of test documents, but does not say which documents are needed in particular situations.
  • 1008 - Standard for Software Unit Testing - A standard for planning, building and executing unit tests.
  • 1012 - Standard for Software Verification and Validation Plans - Gives a standard for V&V plans, describing what inputs, outputs and criteria are recommended for a project's V&V activities and should be recorded in a plan.
  • 1044 - Guide to Classification of Software Anomalies - How to write and manage bug reports, very useful as in my experience, even some very experience software engineers have trouble in taking the time to write useful bug reports.
  • 1059 - Guide for Software Verification and Validation Plans - Gives a process for using and managing V&V plans.

  • 1016.1 - Guide to Software Design Descriptions - Concentrates on documenting and using 'views' into a design, much like the Krutchen 4+1 paper.
  • 1016 - Recommended Practice for Software Design Descriptions - How to go about writing a SDD, within the project life cycle.
  • 1209 - Recommended Practice for the Evaluation and Selection of CASE Tools - CASE tools are notoriously difficult to choose and use successfully (see an earlier post), this tries to guide you around this particular minefield.
  • 1320.1 - Standard for Functional Modelling Language - syntax and semantics for IDEF0 - A formal system/process modelling technique. Quite heavy, I've found ETVX to be much more usable.
  • 1320.2 - Standard for Conceptual Modelling Language Syntax and Semantics for IDEF1X97 (IDEFobject) - Again, a formal system/process modelling technique. Quite heavy, I've found ETVX to be much more usable.
  • 1348 - Recommended Practice for the Adoption of CASE Tools - Once you've got a CASE tool, the fun doesn't stop there. Carries on from 1209.

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