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IEEE STANDARD 982.1-2005 - Standard Dictionary of Measures of the Software Aspects of Dependability

This is a call for participation in the working group responsible for updating this important industry standard!


Software is used in systems that impact every aspect of our lives today. Some systems are essential and must have 99% percent up-time. Banking and financial services firms go to great lengths to ensure that their systems are always available, providing excellent service and support. Regulatory agencies require that these firms adhere to industry standards and establish appropriate IT controls. System outages that impact customers can trigger an audit and even a visit from federal regulatory authorities. When the systems involve life support and aim missiles then reliability takes on even greater significance. Measuring reliability is not an easy task. The IEEE publishes an excellent standard that can help you understand the standard measures of software dependability. This is especially important to configuration and release management experts because the build process is often used to analyze the code and calculate many of these measures of software dependability. The IEEE website notes that 982.1 ”standard dictionary consists of measures of the software aspects of dependability for assessing and predicting the reliability, maintainability, and availability of any software system; in particular, it applies to mission critical software systems.

What does this standard cover?

As noted in the earlier version of this standard  the standard provides a set of measures indicative of software reliability that can be applied to the software product as well as to the development and support processes. There is a need for measures than can be applied early in the development process that may be indicators of the reliability of the delivered product. The standard provides a common, consistent definition of a set of measures that may meet those needs. There are four sections:

1: Scope, establishes the goals and boundaries of the standard. Section

2: Definitions, serves as a central location for key terms used throughout the body of the document. Section

3: Functional Classification of Measures, provides a taxonomy with respect to measure objectives. Section

4: Measures for Reliable Software, presents the measures ordered in general by complexity.


The scope of this standard specifies and classifies measures of the software aspects of dependability. It is an expansion of the scope of the existing standard; the revision includes the following aspects of dependability: reliability, availability, and maintainability of software. The applicability of this standard is any software system; in particular, it applies to mission critical systems, where high reliability, availability, and maintainability are of utmost importance. These systems include, but are not limited to, systems for military combat, space missions, air traffic control, network operations, stock exchanges, automatic teller machines, and airline reservation systems.


The purpose of this standard provides measures that are applicable for continual self-assessment and improvement of the software aspects of dependability.


If you are interested in helping to update this standard then contact me directly to participate in the IEEE working group!


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