Definition

Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination (SPICE)

SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination) is an international framework for assessment of software processes developed jointly by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). SPICE is specified in ISO/IEC 15504.

Essentially, ISO/IEC 15504 comprises a guide to performing an assessment for software development projects. It includes a description of this assessment process, a model for performing an assessment, a description of tools that may be used as part of the assessment process and a discussion of factors that contribute to the success of such an assessment.

ISO/IEC make reference to more specific standards but do not set them out. The SPICE standard seeks to describe the preferred order in which activities should occur in a software development project, with particular emphasis on an organization's management and process definition structures. The ultimate goal of ISO/IEC 15504 is to achieve process improvement within a technology organization, based on rigorous definition of objectives and programs to help attain them.

ISO/IEC 15504 is organized around a reference model that is divided into two dimensions: a process dimension and a capability dimension. Processes are divided into 5 categories: customer-supplier, engineering, supporting, management and organization. Processes are also defined as to capability levels numbered from 0 to 5, where 0 describes an incomplete process, 1 a performed process, and so on, with 5 equating to an optimizing process. Process capabilities can also acquire process attributes, numbered c.x, where c is the capability level (1 for performed process, 2 for managed process and so forth), and x is a number associated with a specific related attribute, so that 2.1 represents performance management, while 2.2 represents work product management.

See also SPICE circuitry simulation.

This was last updated in March 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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