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ISO 15504 - Process capability assessment     Print

ISO/IEC 15504 also known as SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination) is a "framework for the assessment of processes". It is the reference model for the maturity models, consisting of capability levels, against which the assessors can place the evidence that they collect during their assessment, so that the assessors can give an overall determination of the organisation's capabilities for delivering products (software, systems, IT services)

Capability levels

For each process, ISO/IEC 15504 defines a capability level on the following scale:

Level Name Description
0 Incomplete process The process is not implemented or fails to achieve its purpose ;
1 Performed process (Informed) The process is implemented and achieves its purpose
2 Managed process (Planned and monitored) The process is managed and results are specified, controlled and maintained.
3 Established process (Well defined) A standard process is defined and used throughout the organisation
4 Predictable process (Quantitatively managed) The process is executed consistently within defined limits
5 Optimizing process (Continous improvement) The process is continuously improved to meet relevant current and projected business goals

Process attributes

The capability of processes is measured using process attributes. The international standard defines nine process attributes:

  • 1.1 Process Performance
  • 2.1 Performance Management
  • 2.2 Work Product Management
  • 3.1 Process Definition
  • 3.2 Process Deployment
  • 4.1 Process Measurement
  • 4.2 Process Control
  • 5.1 Process Innovation
  • 5.2 Process Optimization.

Each process attribute is assessed on a four-point (N-P-L-F) rating scale:

  • Not achieved (0 - 15%)
  • Partially achieved (>15% - 50%)
  • Largely achieved (>50%- 85%)
  • Fully achieved (>85% - 100%).

The rating is based upon evidence collected against the practice indicators, which demonstrate fulfillment of the process attribute.

Assessment process

The assessment process can be generalized as the following steps:

  • initiate an assessment (assessment sponsor)
  • select assessor and assessment team
  • plan the assessment, including processes and organizational unit to be assessed (lead assessor and assessment team)
  • pre-assessment briefing
  • data collection
  • data validation
  • process rating
  • reporting the assessment result

Source: International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

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