Systems and software engineering — System life cycle processes

ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015 establishes a common framework of process descriptions for describing the life cycle of systems created by humans. It defines a set of processes and associated terminology from an engineering viewpoint. These processes can be applied at any level in the hierarchy of a system's structure. Selected sets of these processes can be applied throughout the life cycle for managing and performing the stages of a system's life cycle. This is accomplished through the involvement of all stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of achieving customer satisfaction. ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015 also provides processes that support the definition, control and improvement of the system life cycle processes used within an organization or a project. Organizations and projects can use these processes when acquiring and supplying systems. ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015 concerns those systems that are man-made and may be configured with one or more of the following system elements: hardware, software, data, humans, processes (e.g., processes for providing service to users), procedures (e.g., operator instructions), facilities, materials and naturally occurring entities.

Ingénierie des systèmes et du logiciel — Processus du cycle de vie du système

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Systems and software engineering —
System life cycle processes
Ingénierie des systèmes et du logiciel — Processus du cycle de vie du

Reference number
ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

ISO/IEC 2015
IEEE 2015

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)
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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

Contents Page
Introduction . vii
1 Overview . 1
1.1 Scope . 1
1.2 Purpose . 1
1.3 Field of application . 1
1.4 Limitations . 2
2 Conformance . 2
2.1 Intended usage . 2
2.2 Full conformance . 3
2.2.1 Full conformance to outcomes . 3
2.2.2 Full conformance to tasks . 3
2.3 Tailored conformance . 3
3 Normative references . 3
4 Terms, definitions, and abbreviated terms . 3
4.1 Terms and definitions . 3
4.2 Abbreviated terms . 10
5 Key concepts and application of this International Standard . 11
5.1 Introduction . 11
5.2 System concepts . 11
5.2.1 Systems . 11
5.2.2 System structure . 11
5.2.3 Enabling systems . 12
5.3 Organization and project concepts . 13
5.3.1 Organizations . 13
5.3.2 Organization and project-level adoption . 14
5.4 Life cycle concepts . 14
5.4.1 System life cycle model . 14
5.4.2 System life cycle stages . 14
5.5 Process concepts . 15
5.5.1 Criteria for processes . 15
5.5.2 Description of processes . 15
5.5.3 General characteristics of processes . 15
5.5.4 Tailoring . 15
5.6 Processes in this standard . 15
5.6.1 Introduction . 15
5.6.2 Agreement processes . 17
5.6.3 Organizational project-enabling processes . 17
5.6.4 Technical management processes . 17
5.6.5 Technical processes . 17
5.7 Process application . 18
5.8 Process reference model . 19
6 System life cycle processes . 19
6.1 Agreement processes . 19
6.1.1 Acquisition process . 19
6.1.2 Supply process . 21
6.2 Organizational project-enabling processes . 23
6.2.1 Life cycle model management process . 23
6.2.2 Infrastructure management process . 25
6.2.3 Portfolio management process . 26
6.2.4 Human resource management process . 27
6.2.5 Quality management process . 28
6.2.6 Knowledge management process . 30
6.3 Technical management processes . 31
© ISO/IEC 2015  All rights reserved
© IEEE 2015 – All rights reserved

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

6.3.1 Project planning process .32
6.3.2 Project assessment and control process .34
6.3.3 Decision management process .36
6.3.4 Risk management process .38
6.3.5 Configuration management process .39
6.3.6 Information management process .42
6.3.7 Measurement process .44
6.3.8 Quality assurance process .45
6.4 Technical processes .47
6.4.1 Business or mission analysis process .48
6.4.2 Stakeholder needs and requirements definition process .51
6.4.3 System requirements definition process .54
6.4.4 Architecture definition process .57
6.4.5 Design definition process .61
6.4.6 System analysis process .64
6.4.7 Implementation process .65
6.4.8 Integration process.68
6.4.9 Verification process .70
6.4.10 Transition process .72
6.4.11 Validation process .74
6.4.12 Operation process .77
6.4.13 Maintenance process .80
6.4.14 Disposal process .83
Annex A (normative) Tailoring Process .86
A.1 Introduction .86
A.2 Tailoring process .86
A.2.1 Purpose .86
A.2.2 Outcomes .86
A.2.3 Activities and tasks .86
Annex B (informative) Example process information items .88
B.1 Introduction .88
Annex C (informative) Process reference model for assessment purposes .90
C.1 Introduction .90
C.2 Conformance with ISO/IEC 15504-2 .90
C.2.1 General .90
C.2.2 Requirements for process reference models .90
C.2.3 Process descriptions .91
C.3 The process reference model .91
Annex D (informative) Process integration and process constructs .92
D.1 Introduction .92
D.2 Process constructs and their usage .92
Annex E (informative) Process views .94
E.1 Introduction .94
E.2 The process view concept .94
E.3 Process viewpoint .94
E.4 Process view for specialty engineering .95
E.5 Process view for interface management .97
Annex F (Informative) Architecture modeling . 100
F.1 Introduction . 100
F.2 Viewpoints, views and model kinds used in architecture . 100
F.3 Logical and physical models . 100
F.3.1 Functional model . 100
F.3.2 Behavioural model . 100
F.3.3 Temporal model . 101
F.3.4 Structural model . 101
F.3.5 Mass model . 101
F.3.6 Layout model . 101
F.3.7 Network model . 101
F.3.8 Other model considerations . 101
Annex G (Informative) Application of system life cycle processes to a system of systems . 102
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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

G.1 Introduction . 102
G.2 SoS characteristics and types . 102
G.3 SE processes applied to systems of systems . 103
G.3.1 General . 103
G.3.2 Agreement processes . 103
G.3.3 Organizational project enabling processes . 103
G.3.4 Technical management processes . 104
G.3.5 Technical processes . 104
Bibliography . 106

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© IEEE 2015 – All rights reserved

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (the International Electrotechnical
Commission) form the specialized system for worldwide standardization. National bodies that are members of
ISO or IEC participate in the development of International Standards through technical committees
established by the respective organization to deal with particular fields of technical activity. ISO and IEC
technical committees collaborate in fields of mutual interest. Other international organizations, governmental
and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO and IEC, also take part in the work. In the field of information
technology, ISO and IEC have established a joint technical committee, ISO/IEC JTC 1.
IEEE Standards documents are developed within the IEEE Societies and the Standards Coordinating
Committees of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board. The IEEE develops its standards
through a consensus development process, approved by the American National Standards Institute, which
brings together volunteers representing varied viewpoints and interests to achieve the final product.
Volunteers are not necessarily members of the Institute and serve without compensation. While the IEEE
administers the process and establishes rules to promote fairness in the consensus development process, the
IEEE does not independently evaluate, test, or verify the accuracy of any of the information contained in its
International Standards are drafted in accordance with the rules given in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2.
The main task of ISO/IEC JTC 1 is to prepare International Standards. Draft International Standards adopted
by the joint technical committee are circulated to national bodies for voting. Publication as an International
Standard requires approval by at least 75 % of the national bodies casting a vote.
Attention is called to the possibility that implementation of this standard may require the use of subject matter
covered by patent rights. By publication of this standard, no position is taken with respect to the existence or
validity of any patent rights in connection therewith. ISO/IEEE is not responsible for identifying essential
patents or patent claims for which a license may be required, for conducting inquiries into the legal validity or
scope of patents or patent claims or determining whether any licensing terms or conditions provided in
connection with submission of a Letter of Assurance or a Patent Statement and Licensing Declaration Form, if
any, or in any licensing agreements are reasonable or non-discriminatory. Users of this standard are
expressly advised that determination of the validity of any patent rights, and the risk of infringement of such
rights, is entirely their own responsibility. Further information may be obtained from ISO or the IEEE
Standards Association.
ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 was prepared by Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology,
Subcommittee SC 7, Software and systems engineering, in cooperation with the IEEE Computer Society
Systems and Software Engineering Standards Committee, under the Partner Standards Development
Organization cooperation agreement between ISO and IEEE.
This first edition of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 cancels and replaces the ISO/IEC 15288:2008 (second edition),
which has been technically revised.
Changes in this revision of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 were developed in conjunction with a corresponding revision
of ISO/IEC/IEEE 12207, Systems and software engineering – Software life cycle processes. The purpose of
these revisions is to accomplish the harmonization of the structures and contents of the two International
Standards, while supporting the requirements of the assessment community.
This International Standard was developed with the following goals:
 provide a common terminology between the revision of the ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 and
 where applicable, provide common process names and process structure between the revision of the
ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 and ISO/IEC/IEEE 12207,
 enable the user community to evolve towards fully harmonized standards, while maximizing backward
This revision is intended to achieve a fully harmonized view of the system and software life cycle processes.
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© IEEE 2015 – All rights reserved

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

The complexity of man-made systems has increased to an unprecedented level. This has led to new
opportunities, but also to increased challenges for the organizations that create and utilize systems. These
challenges exist throughout the life cycle of a system and at all levels of architectural detail. This International
Standard provides a common process framework for describing the life cycle of systems created by humans,
adopting a Systems Engineering approach. Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach and means
to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining stakeholder needs and required
functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design
synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem. It integrates all the disciplines and
specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to
production to operation. It considers both the business and the technical needs of all stakeholders with the
goal of providing a quality product that meets the needs of users and other applicable stakeholders. This life
cycle spans the conception of ideas through to the retirement of a system. It provides the processes for
acquiring and supplying systems. It helps to improve communication and cooperation among the parties that
create, utilize and manage modern systems in order that they can work in an integrated, coherent fashion. In
addition, this framework provides for the assessment and improvement of the life cycle processes.
The processes in this International Standard form a comprehensive set from which an organization can
construct system life cycle models appropriate to its products and services. An organization, depending on its
purpose, can select and apply an appropriate subset to fulfill that purpose.
This International Standard can be used in one or more of the following modes:
 By an organization — to help establish an environment of desired processes. These processes can be
supported by an infrastructure of methods, procedures, techniques, tools and trained personnel. The
organization may then employ this environment to perform and manage its projects and progress systems
through their life cycle stages. In this mode this International Standard is used to assess conformance of
a declared, established environment to its provisions.
 By a project — to help select, structure and employ the elements of an established environment to
provide products and services. In this mode this International Standard is used in the assessment of
conformance of the project to the declared and established environment.
 By an acquirer and a supplier — to help develop an agreement concerning processes and activities. Via
the agreement, the processes and activities in this International Standard are selected, negotiated,
agreed to and performed. In this mode this International Standard is used for guidance in developing the
 By process assessors — to serve as a process reference model for use in the performance of process
assessments that may be used to support organizational process improvement.

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© IEEE 2015 – All rights reserved

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015(E)

IEEE Introduction

This introduction is not part of IEEE Std 15288™-2015, Systems and Software Engineering — Systems Life Cycle

This standard replaces ISO/IEC/IEEE Std 15288™-2008, Systems and software engineering—System life
cycle processes. That standard replaced IEEE Std 15288™-2004, Adoption of ISO/IEC 15288:2002, Systems
and software engineering—System life cycle processes. The original ISO/IEC 15288 was published in
November 2002 and was the first international standard to provide a comprehensive set of life cycle
processes for systems.

This new revision of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 is the product of a coordinated effort by IEEE and ISO/IEC JTC
1/SC 7. The base document for the revision is the ISO/IEC/IEEE standard. Development of this revision was
carefully coordinated with the parallel revision of ISO/IEC/IEEE 12207:2015 to align structure, terms, and
corresponding organizational and project processes.

This revised standard is a step in the SC7 harmonizatio

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