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So What the Heck is ISO 15504 (SPICE) Capability Assessment?

Ever wondered, What is a ISO 15504 Capability Assessment ?

So Let me give an overview of Process Assessments and Services first…

Process Assessments are used to Improve the Services.

So what are Services?

Services are outputs of the processes that Support them..If we are able to identify and improve, we should be able to improve the Service. For identifying what services need to improve, the best bet is to perform a Process Assessment for Information Technology Service Management (ITSM).

So here iam explaining you what the heck is ISO 15504…

The ISO 15504 International standard is a Framework for doing Process Maturity Assessments and continuous Improvement. One can use the ISO 15504 to analyze the process capability and measurement of services. The output here is standard set of Processes involved in giving agreed level of services to Customers.

Wikipedia defines ISO 15504 Process Assessment as ISO/IEC 15504 Information technology — Process assessment, also known as SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination), is a set of technical standards documents for the computer software development process and related business management functions. It is another joint International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard, which was developed by the ISO and IEC joint subcommittee, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 7.[1]”

The Assessments performed would result in one of the Six Classes of levels, below is a diagram which shows each of these six levels…


So let me explain each of them, in detail:

  1. Incomplete (Level 0): The Process is not Implemented or fails to achieve its purpose.
  2. Performed (Level 1):The Process is performed and achieves its purpose.
  3. Managed (Level 2): The Process is managed and results are specified, controlled and maintained.
  4. Established (Level 3): A Standard Process is defined and used throughout the organization
  5. Predictable (Level 4):The Process is executed consistently within defined limits.
  6. Optimizing (Level 5): The Process is continuously improved to meet current and Projected business goals.

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

  • 1 Process Performance
  • 1 Performance Management
  • 2 Work Product Management
  • 1 Process Definition
  • 2 Process Deployment
  • 1 Process Measurement
  • 2 Process Control
  • 1 Process Innovation
  • 2 Process Optimization.

Each process attribute consists of one or more generic practices, which are further elaborated into practice indicators to aid assessment performance. The above attributes are also shown in the above diagram.

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.

So, My dear friends if you do an ITIL Assessment or any other Process Assessments, please do understand ISO 15504.

The ISO 15504 is widely used in COBIT 5 Assessments and ITIL Assessments (Also called Tudor Information Process Assessments [TIPA] )

And one more thing, the ISO 15504 Standard is being changed to ISO 33000 in Second or Third Quarter of 2015, though the final dates have yet to emerge.

The ISO 33000 Standard will be:

  • ISO/IEC 33001, Concepts and terminology
  • ISO/IEC 33003, Requirements for process measurement frameworks
  • ISO/IEC 33020, Process measurement framework for assessment of process capability
  • ISO/IEC 33061, Process capability assessment model for software life cycle processes

Satish Kini