The ISO approach to software life cycle processes

The processes that, either as a central objective or as a by-product, generate or update life cycle data arc particularly the concern of the standard.

It will be recalled from Appendix A and Appendix B that BS 6079 differed from PRINCE 2 in defining, in theory at least, a project as starting with a concept and ending, after the required system had been both built and operated, with its decommissioning. In practice with BS 6079, however, the detailed procedures suggested for project planning and control focused on the development phase. ISO 12207 identifies five distinct processes:

Clearly, maintenance and operation are processes that genuinely belong to the post-implementation phase of a conventional development project. One justification for the inclusion of these post-implementation activities is that sometimes a customer will contract a supplier both to develop a system and operate it on the customer's behalf. Similarly a software house could be responsible contractually both for the construction of a software-based system and its maintenance after installation. Our attention here is given primarily to the acquisition, supply and development processes. It must be stressed once again that this appendix is intended merely to give an overview. Those intending to use the standard *in anger' must obtain and study the full document.

Figure D.I ISO 12207processes.

The acquisition process is the set of procedures that a customer for software (or 'acquirer' in ISO 12207 terminology) will go through in order to obtain that software from an external source. Ilie supply process is the opposite side and is the set of procedures that the supplier should adopt in order to satisfy the acquirer's needs. Ilie supplier might use an existing piece of software or might develop new software, in which case they would need to invoke the development process.

Just as in the case of BS 6079, some supporting processes can be identified. These are listed in Table D.I.

We will now deal briefly with the acquisition, supply, and development processes in turn.

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