What Software Development Standards Should You Be Aware Of?

What Software Development Standards Should You Be Aware Of?

It is no secret that software developers abide by a wide range of rules, guidelines, regulations, and standards when creating their computer programs.

These standards are issued on a global, regional, and industry-specific level. The three largest organizations that issue standards with regard to software development are the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), the IEEE (Electrical and Electronics Engineers), and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

Together these organizations design, establish, and maintain a wide array of standards that influence the way that software applications are made, distributed for use, and maintained throughout the entire software life cycle.

From the perspective of a software development team, and the client that is hiring the team – whether they are outsourcing or establishing an in-house team – it is important that both parties recognize and abide by the standards that are relevant to their project. Failure to do so can lead to costly penalties, a loss of reputation, reduced customer satisfaction, and even government intervention.

Common Software Engineering Standards

As previously stated, the three largest organizations that issue software engineering standards are the ISO, IEEE, and IEC. The standards that these organizations release are reviewed on a regular basis, so they are always up to date with the latest technological advancements, such as cloud computing and blockchain.

Also, the standards are developed in collaboration with leading industry experts, whose knowledge and expertise help the ISO and other organizations establish frameworks that consider every facet of a specific industry. And, of course, software engineering is no exception to this rule. In fact, the ISO website clearly states that developing an international standard takes about three years to complete.

To help give you a better idea of the acceptance criteria that applies to software engineering, here are just a few of the most common ISO standards.

ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003:2018

The ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003:2018 standard provides guidance to organizations that need to apply the ISO 9001:2015 standard to their software application.

What does this mean exactly? For developers that are establishing a software quality management system, they can use the ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003:2018 standard as a point of reference. This will make sure that the quality management system in their software application meets both customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

ISO/IEC 12207 and ISO/IEC 15288

While these two ISO standards both relate to the field of systems and software engineering, there is a difference between the two. The ISO/IEC 12207 standard establishes the software life cycle processes within an organization or project, while the ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015 standard establishes the life cycle processes for human-made systems.

This is an important distinction to make, as it is possible for a system to be in place without a software component, and vice versa. However, these days, it is common for systems to have one or more software components; hence, why the two ISO standards are here under the same section.

ISO/IEC 15939 (Software Measurement Processes)

As the label implies, the purpose of ISO/IEC 15939 is to establish the software measurement processes that companies should follow to measure the different activities of a software product. It is also designed to elaborate on measurement processes from ISO/IEC 15288 and ISO/IEC 12207.

The standard helps stakeholders define the measurement activities that they will conduct to determine what measurement information is required, how to apply the measurement and static analysis results, and how to decide if the analysis results are valid.

The standard also recognized that different measurement processes might be required to accommodate for different software engineering scenarios, by guaranteeing that the processes themselves are adaptable, tailored, and flexible. A common example of a software metric is coding standards, such as the number of lines in the source code.

ISO/IEC 14143 (Software Measurement - Functional Size Measurement)

ISO/IEC 14143 is a standard that is broken up into several parts. According to the official ISO website, this standard “defines the concepts of FSM (Functional Size Measurement),” where software sizing is the act of determining the size of a software application. This information is then used to implement other software project management activities into that software.

Previous forms of functional size measuring involved counting the lines of code in a software’s codebase, but since then, the method has evolved to consider factors outside of the number of lines of code, such as Use Case-based software sizing, which involves counting the number and characteristics of use cases found in a software application.

This approach results in an improved end user experience, as the functional user requirements are clearly identified and prioritized to provide the best possible user experience.

How to Ensure Your Software Engineering Team is Compliant with the Latest Standards

Whether you are outsourcing software engineering to a third party, or establishing an in-house team, you need to make sure that your software application is compliant with all relevant global, regional, and industry-specific standards.

To achieve this goal, the best approach is to have a compliance expert on hand. In collaboration with the development team, they can review the technological and business requirements of the project. They can also make sure those requirements align with all relevant internal and external regulatory and licensing requirements, as set by global, regional, and industry standards.

In addition, compliance experts will develop, implement, and enforce policies and standards to help the organization avoid legal ramifications and reputational loss.

What’s more, a compliance expert, when brought in to support a DevOps software engineering environment, can help consult the development team early on in the process. This way, compliance will be at the forefront of each team member’s mind, and they will know what to do to make sure that their contribution to the project meets all requirements.

Final Thoughts on Software Engineering Standards

Final Thoughts on Software Engineering Standards

Software engineering standards are an effective way to ensure that all software products meet the highest software quality standards. Regardless of where the software is released, the target audience, and the industry that the software is made for.

In saying this, it is the responsibility of the software engineering team to make sure that, as much as possible, the products they design, develop, and release comply with all relevant global, regional, and industry-specific coding standards.

By doing so, this means the development team will be more likely to release good software. They will also have the quality assurance that their products are meeting customer expectations and delivering a positive user experience.

Furthermore, compliance helps boost the professional image of the company releasing the software application, resulting in the potential for greater brand recognition and higher customer satisfaction rates.

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