ISO / IEC 15504

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ISO / IEC 15504-5 or SPICE ( S oftware P rocess I mprovement and C apability D e termination ) is an international standard ISO for conducting reviews ( assessments ) of business processes , initially with a focus on software development . A preliminary version of the Technical Report (TR) was adopted in 1998 and replaced by the first version as an international standard (IS) in March 2006 . This currently (2012) consists of ten parts. Part 8, published in 2012, added IT service management according to the definitions of ISO / IEC 20000 to software development . The first two parts were replaced in 2015 by the ISO / IEC 33001 and ISO / IEC 33002 standards .

Form the core of this standard

  • the improvement of processes in one's own organization ( process improvement ) and
  • the determination of the process capability ( capability determination ).

As a process, "related activities for the transformation of input products into output products" are defined. Similar to competing standards like CMMI , SPICE now defines methods for evaluating complete process models and organizations.

Process assessment model

Process assessments are carried out using the two-dimensional reference and assessment model . The "process dimension" on the one hand serves to identify and select the processes to be examined in the assessment, the " degree of proficiency dimension " on the other hand is used to determine and evaluate the respective ability to carry out a process.

The evaluation is between the ability (capability) to execute a process, and maturity ( maturity to distinguish multiple processes) for an organization or for the interaction.

Process dimension

The International Standard (IS) formulates requirements for process reference models (PRM), with which processes are described, as well as for process assessment models (PAM), which contain evaluation criteria and methods for these processes based on this. In this way, neither binding processes are defined, nor are the evaluation criteria for them stipulated, but only basic requirements for such models are described. In Part 5 of the IS, such a PAM based on the further developed ISO / IEC 12207 processes in the software life cycle (as PRM) is defined as an example.

As an alternative to the PRM from ISO / IEC 12207 and the PAM in Part 5 of the standard, Automotive SPICE has established itself in the German automotive industry . This standard is also based on ISO / IEC 12207, but defines its own PRM and PAM, which conform to the mandatory Part 2 of SPICE.

Skill or maturity dimension

The qualification or maturity dimension consists of the six degrees of “incomplete”, “carried out”, “controlled”, “established”, “predictable” and “optimizing” (compare structure of CMM ). These make statements about the performance of the processes described in the process dimension. The individual stages are assigned the activities that lead to the results being systematically developed and available in the defined quality at the end of the process.

Maturity levels and process attributes

A total of nine process attributes are assigned to the skill or maturity levels . These are each described by the basic management activities assigned to them and serve to assess the processes. The degree of proficiency is determined individually for each process. Not only is the existence of a process activity assessed, but the adequate implementation of the activity is also assessed. Each process attribute is evaluated using a four-point scale:

  • "Not fulfilled": 0% - 15%
  • "Partially fulfilled":> 15% - 50%
  • "Largely fulfilled":> 50% - 85%
  • "Completely fulfilled":> 85% - 100%

During the assessment, it must be objectively demonstrated that the requirements are met at the relevant level. This is done, for example, on the basis of work products that emerge as results from the processes, or through statements made by the process executors in interviews.

For the evaluation of the assessment , the process and maturity dimensions are merged. For each process examined, evaluations are determined in the form of the degree of fulfillment of the nine process attributes, which results in the degree of maturity for this process. In the entirety of all examined processes, this results in a strengths and weaknesses profile, from which improvement potentials can be identified. The descriptions of the next higher level of maturity show possibilities for improving the processes.

Part 2 of ISO / IEC 15504 describes the responsibilities of assessors . The qualification required for this can be proven by a corresponding certification . There are two qualification schemes for this in German-speaking countries: iNTACS ( International Assessor Certification Scheme ) and INTRSA ( International Registration Scheme for Assessors ).

Components of ISO / IEC 15504

ISO / IEC 15504 “Information technology - Process assessment ” consists of ten parts. Parts 1 to 6 represent the standard (IS - International Standard ); Parts 7 to 10 are supplements (TR - Technical Report or TS - Technical Specification ).

  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 1 - "Concepts and vocabulary"
The first part of ISO / IEC 15504-1: 2004 contains the concept and terminology of the standard. An overview is given and it is shown how the other parts of the standard interact and are to be used. 2015 replaced by ISO / IEC 33001 .
The second part of ISO / IEC 15504-2: 2003 defines the requirements for performing an assessment. 2015 replaced by ISO / IEC 33002 .
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 3 - "Guidance on performing an assessment"
The third part ISO / IEC 15504-3: 2004 describes the minimum content of the part ISO / IEC 15504-2 that must be achieved in order to comply with the standard. In addition, a minimal assessment process is described, as specified by Chapter 4.2 of ISO / IEC 15504-2.
The fourth part of ISO / IEC 15504-4: 2004 describes the processes for process improvement (PI) and the determination of process capability determination (PCD).
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 5 - "An exemplar software life cycle process assessment model"
The fifth part of ISO / IEC 15504-5: 2012 describes the detailed process assessment model with the two dimensions. It will be necessary for the description of a process reference model the process definitions of ISO / IEC 12207: 2008 is used. In addition, the contents of ISO / IEC 15504-2 are listed again and expanded by nine attributes for generic procedures.
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 6 - "An exemplar system life cycle process assessment model"
The sixth part of ISO / IEC 15504-6: 2013 contains a process assessment model (PAM). The PAM is derived from the Process Reference Model (PRM) of ISO / IEC 15288 for system development .
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 7 - "Assessment of organizational maturity"
The seventh part of ISO / IEC T R 15504-7: 2008 , as a technical report (TR), is an aid to the standard, in which the framework conditions for determining a maturity level for an organization are described.
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 8 - "An exemplar process assessment model for IT service management"
The eighth part of ISO / IEC TS 15504-8: 2012 is a technical specification (TS), a preliminary stage to the standard, which contains an example of a process assessment model for IT service management. The underlying processes correspond to ISO / IEC 20000 . This makes it possible to determine a degree of capability for these individual processes and a degree of process maturity for the entire organization.
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 9 - "Target process profiles"
The ninth part of ISO / IEC TS 15504-9: 2011 is a technical specification (TS), a preliminary stage to the standard that describes process profile goals .
  • ISO / IEC 15504 Part 10 - "Safety extension"
The tenth part of ISO / IEC TS 15504-10: 2011, as a technical specification (TS), is a preliminary stage to the standard, which contains all additions to the aspects of safety.


  • Holger Höhn, Bernhard Sechser, Klaudia Dussa-Zieger, Richard Messnarz, Bernd Hindel: Software Engineering according to Automotive SPICE. Development Process in Practice - A Continental Project on the Way to Level 3 . dpunkt Verlag, Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89864-578-2 .
  • Klaus Hörmann, Lars Dittmann, Bernd Hindel, Markus Müller: SPICE in practice. Interpretation aid for users and assessors . dpunkt Verlag, Heidelberg 2006, ISBN 3-89864-341-7 .
  • Markus Müller, Klaus Hörmann, Lars Dittmann, Jörg Zimmer: Automotive SPICE in practice. Interpretation aid for users and assessors . dpunkt Verlag, Heidelberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-89864-469-3 .
  • Han van Loon: Process Assessment and Improvement. A practical guide. (2nd edition in English) . Springer, 2007, ISBN 978-0-387-30044-3 .
  • Han van Loon: Process Assessment and ISO / IEC 15504. A reference book. (2nd edition in English) . Springer, 2007, ISBN 978-0-387-30048-1 .

Individual evidence

  1. ISO / IEC 15504-1: 2004. ISO products. ISO, March 31, 2008, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  2. ISO / IEC 33001: 2015. ISO products. ISO, March 31, 2015, accessed January 27, 2017 .
  3. ISO / IEC 15504-2: 2003. ISO products. ISO, April 30, 2009, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  4. ISO / IEC 33002: 2015. ISO products. ISO, March 31, 2015, accessed January 27, 2017 .
  5. ISO / IEC 15504-3: 2004. ISO products. ISO, June 30, 2007, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  6. ISO / IEC 15504-4: 2004. ISO products. ISO, December 31, 2009, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  7. ISO / IEC 15504-5: 2012. ISO products. ISO, January 26, 2012, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  8. ISO / IEC 15504-6: 2013. ISO products. ISO, June 5, 2013, accessed August 3, 2013 .
  9. ISO / IEC TR 15504-7: 2008. ISO products. ISO, July 15, 2012, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  10. ISO / IEC TS 15504-8: 2012. ISO products. ISO, September 5, 2012, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  11. ISO / IEC TS 15504-9: 2011. ISO products. ISO, July 26, 2011, accessed October 7, 2012 .
  12. ISO / IEC TS 15504-10: 2011. ISO products. ISO, November 21, 2011, accessed October 7, 2012 .

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