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This International Standard 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 to be applied during the acquisition of a software system, product or service and during the supply, development, operation, maintenance and disposal of software products. This is accomplished through the involvement of stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of achieving customer satisfaction.This International Standard applies to the acquisition of software systems, products and services, to the supply, development, operation, maintenance, and disposal of software products and the software portion of any system, whether performed internally or externally to an organization. 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 International Standard 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 International Standard may also be applied during the acquisition of a system that contains software, either alone or in conjunction with ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, Systems and software engineering--System life cycle processes.In the context of this International Standard and ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, it is recognized that 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 International Standard 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 standards 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 International Standard 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 International Standard is written for acquirers of software systems, products and services and for suppliers, developers, integrators, operators, maintainers, managers, quality assurance managers, and users of software systems and products. 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 International Standard 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.


Revision Standard - Active.

Document History

  1. IEEE/ISO/IEC 12207-2017


    ISO/IEC/IEEE International Standard - Systems and software engineering -- Software life cycle processes

    • Most Recent
  2. IEEE/ISO/IEC 12207-2008

    Systems and software engineering -- Software life cycle processes

    • Historical Version
  3. IEEE 12207.0-1996

    Standard for Information Technology - Software Life Cycle Processes

    • Historical Version