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IEEE 12207

2017 Edition, November 2017

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Systems and software engineering - Software life cycle processes

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Description / Abstract:


This document establishes a common framework for software life cycle processes, with well‐defined terminology, that can be referenced by the software industry. It contains processes, activities, and tasks that are applicable during the acquisition, supply, development, operation, maintenance or disposal of software systems, products, and services. These life cycle processes are accomplished through the involvement of stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of achieving customer satisfaction.

This document applies to the acquisition, supply, development, operation, maintenance, and disposal (whether performed internally or externally to an organization) of software systems, products and services, and the software portion of any system, Software includes the software portion of firmware. Those aspects of system definition needed to provide the context for software products and services are included.

This document also provides processes that can be employed for defining, controlling, and improving software life cycle processes within an organization or a project.

The processes, activities, and tasks of this document can also be applied during the acquisition of a system that contains software, either alone or in conjunction with ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015, Systems and software engineering—System life cycle processes.

In the context of this document and ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, there is a continuum of human‐made systems from those that use little or no software to those in which software is the primary interest. It is rare to encounter a complex system without software, and all software systems require physical system components (hardware) to operate, either as part of the software system‐of‐interest or as an enabling system or infrastructure. Thus, the choice of whether to apply this document for the software life cycle processes, or ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288:2015, Systems and software engineering—System life cycle processes, depends on the system‐of‐interest. Processes in both documents have the same process purpose and process outcomes, but differ in activities and tasks to perform software engineering or systems engineering, respectively.


The purpose of this document is to provide a defined set of processes to facilitate communication among acquirers, suppliers and other stakeholders in the life cycle of a software system.

This document is written for acquirers, suppliers, developers, integrators, operators, maintainers, managers, quality assurance managers, and users of software systems, products, and services. It can be used by a single organization in a self‐imposed mode or in a multi‐party situation. Parties can be from the same organization or from different organizations and the situation can range from an informal agreement to a formal contract.

The processes in this document can be used as a basis for establishing business environments, e.g., methods, procedures, techniques, tools and trained personnel. Annex A provides normative direction regarding the tailoring of these software life cycle processes.