The myth of ISO standards: are they so heavy to maintain?

ISO standards are often perceived as a ‘monster’, better not to face them unless somebody asks for them. The problem of implementing an ISO standard, or any other standard, is not usually just about what to implement or achieve, but mainly how to implement it. The existing process models (e.g. CMMI, ISO/IEC 12207) are very much oriented to large organizations that can cover many of the models at once and have the resources to implement them even at the same time. Copying the way of doing of large organizations can kill the small ones: they cannot cover the same amount of what’s at once, nor the how to do’s could be the same.

The success stories that are published are often from the big ones, as they are implementing them since long time and so have more experience on them. For the small ones, who do not have enough resources for external consultancy to support them in preparing these how-to-do’s, reusing those stories results in: a) failure and loss of time and money and b) lack of interest in standards for future use and will only regain interest when a customer asks for it.

But there is no doubt that both large organizations and small ones have problems in developing software, systems or services. And theoretically ISO Standards are intended to improve these aspects. But how would one ensure implementing standard would help more than destroy? The answer is easy: developing standards adapted to these organizations, being a prior step to those other larger models. And, also, developing guides adapted to smaller organizations characteristics. These guides, with the how-to-do’s, are the purpose of upto25, which, in addition to serving small organizations improve their excellence and even helping them to be certified, allows organizations to contact each other, to build consortiums for better solutions and to have better visibility towards their customers.


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