ASQ - Software Division

Standards Chair Report

by Scott Duncan

US TAG Pittsburgh Meeting Notes

(At the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in mid-September.)

Last minute family emergencies and work demands plus the loss of three members (i.e., ARINC, MEDTRONICS, Northup-Grumman) resulted in lower attendance at this meeting compared to others in the recent past.  There was, however, no lack of activity in a variety of areas.

New Work Items Proposed to SC7

One NWI was to develop a guidance document on applying ISO 9001 to system engineering as ISO 90003 now exists for applying it to software. 

Another NWI was to develop a meta-model for software development methodologies based on an Australian definition "language."

A third NWI had to do with developing a data quality model along the lines of the product quality model in ISO/IEC 9216.

Task Groups (and related international Working Group topics)

TG2 - Work is being done on the CD for ISO/IEC 15289 related to system and software information items.  There is an issue as to where processes for user documentation need to go.  WG2 handles documentation as a product, not a process, but WG7 and WG10 have no current place for this.  Perhaps it should simply be regarded as a subset of the whole documentation process.

TG6 - The New Work Item proposal on a data quality model seems particularly targeted to e-government and e-commerce data.  Standards do exist internationally and in the USA on this topic in specific domains (e.g., aerospace, medical records, financial transactions) that could affect any SC7 work.  The US Government has initiatives in this regard, including working through IEEE on a standard related to voting machines/data.  There would seem to be interest in the topic, but perhaps not from current TAG members.  [Are there Division members with an interest in this topic (i.e., as an international standard)?]  Other WG6 work is the continuing effort to develop the SquaRE (ISO/IEC 250nn) series to combine/replace 9126 and 14598.  There are also still issues with ISO/IEC 12119 related to COTS software "testing" and the demands placed on user packaging and documentation with regard to their use as testing "specifications."

TG7 - Work continues on the very significant harmonization effort between 12207 and 15288.  As these documents change, there will be impacts on others such as the 15504 series and standards for user documentation.  Coordination with WG10 and WG2, in particular, become important in this regard.

TG9 - Work is being done on a variety of items related to software risk, safety, security and dependability issues.  Much of the material is being coordinated with related IEEE standards and work in these areas.

TG10 - ISO/IEC 15504-5 (the exemplar model) still appears to be 2 years from completion.  The rest of the document set should be done by early 2005.  The "normative" part (15594-2) already exists as an IS, for example.  WG10 has two proposals to develop a New Work Item to add the concept of "Organizational Maturity" to its work program.  One seeks to add a "staged" model to take 15504 assessment profiles and produce an organizational "level" while another covers a broader definition of what "organizational maturity" might mean.  If WG10 could do the latter for organizations in general, not just software development, it would be a significant.  As 15504 is not limited to software process assessment, adding "organizational maturity" would require a broad definition of what that means.  Existing organizational models like the Baldrige Award and EFQM (an organizational quality model used in Europe), as well as others, address this, but go far beyond the product development domain.

TG22  - WG22's work is to develop a new SC7 vocabulary starting with all existing terms in SC7 materials plus IEEE's vocabulary standard (610.12), which has been offered to SC7 for this work.  There was some discussion at the TAG meeting of "ontologies" that exist to handle vocabulary and the ISO 9000 annex on vocabulary.  There is a target (but not absolute) date of April 2005 for a first version of the new vocabulary.  It will be available in print as all other ISO standards, but the "living" version will be a database (of some sort) accessible through the Internet.

Other Items

TR 15846 (Configuration Management) has been withdrawn and SC7 will refer to IEEE 828 instead.

As always, those interested in any of the topics mentioned above, or other standards-related issues, can contact Scott Duncan by email ( or or or or phone (706-649-2345 (weekdays), (706-562-1256 (evenings and weekends)).

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