ISO 15288 – Next Standards Phenomenon?

ISO 15288:2002 may be the next standards phenomenon. It’s timeliness and applicability to organizations in all sectors could give it a considerable impact on the world of business, similar to ISO 9000.

Just as the ISO 9000 family of standards has distilled the essential characteristics of quality management into a set of generic requirements, ISO 15288 (Systems Engineering – System Life Cycle Processes) offers a portfolio of generic processes for the optimal management of all stages in the life of any product or service.

Many products and services are actually multi-part systems with hardware, software, and human interfaces. These systems are planned from a cradle-to-grave perspective and produced through processes that may cut across the internal and external boundaries of organizations.

“ISO 15288 enables organizations to handle the complexity of present day products and services,” says Stuart Arnold, who edited the standard. “It fits well with basic business practices and with quality management practices already in place. It offers a route to business improvements that will become necessary as technology offers fresh opportunities, and as customers demand products with better performance and services that better meet their needs.”

The standard provides processes for all stages in a product life cycle, from conception and development to production, utilization, support, and retirement. ISO 15288 supplies a “red thread” to guide the development of these processes by defining for each one the purpose it fulfills, the outcomes to be achieved, and the activities that need to be performed. The detailed content of the processes will be filled in by the user according to the specific product and to the organizational context and requirements.

According to Stuart Arnold: “The principles and practices found in ISO 15288 can be applied to all industrial sectors. They are well known in the aerospace and defense communities, they are being applied in industries associated with transportation and energy, and they are beginning to influence technical aspects of services such as health care and law enforcement. In the foreseeable future, the approaches described in this International Standard will become an aspect of standard business practice across industry.”

ISO 15288:2002 is available from the ANSI Electronic Standards Store for $118.
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