ISO IEC 90003 2004 Plain English Introduction

ISO IEC 90003 2004 is obsolete. See the NEW ISO IEC 90003 2014 software standard.

ISO IEC 90003 VERSUS ISO 9000-3

ISO IEC 90003:2004 was officially published on February 15, 2004.
This new standard cancels and replaces the old ISO 9000-3:1997
software standard. The old ISO 9000-3 standard explained how
ISO 9001:1994 could be applied to computer software. Similarly,
the new ISO 90003 standard explains how ISO 9001:2000 can be
applied to computer software. Since ISO 9000-3 was designed to
be used with the old ISO 9001:1994 standard, it had to be updated
to make it compatible with the ISO 9001:2000 standard.

ISO IEC 90003:2004 was developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1, SC 7
(Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 7). JTC 1 is
responsible for all kinds of information technology standards
while SC 7 is specifically responsible for the development of
all software and system engineering standards.

ISO 90003 AND ISO 9001

ISO IEC 90003:2004 is based on the ISO 9001:2000 quality
management standard. Both standards are organized in the same
way and use basically the same numbering system. The following
equation summarizes how ISO IEC 90003:2004 and ISO 9001:2000
are related:

ISO 90003 = ISO 9001 + ADVICE ON HOW TO APPLY ISO 9001

ISO IEC 90003 2004 is really nothing more that ISO 9001 2000
applied to computer software and related services. It doesn’t add
to or change the ISO 9001 requirements in any way, it just explains
and describes how you can meet these requirements if you’re in
the software business.


In general, ISO IEC 90003 is made up of two kinds of clauses:
requirements and guidelines. Requirements are things you must
do if you wish to become certified. Requirements come directly
from ISO 9001 without modification while guidelines are unique
to the ISO 90003 standard. The ISO 90003 standard includes all
ISO 9001 requirements plus a set of guidelines that explain how
the ISO 9001 requirements can be applied to computer software
and related services.

ISO IEC 90003 2004 further distinguishes between two types of
guidelines: recommendations and suggestions. Recommendations
are things you should do to meet the ISO 9001 requirements, while
suggestions are things you may do within the limits set by the
ISO 9001 standard. Suggestions are things that are permissible
or allowed within the constraints imposed by ISO 9001.

These distinctions are summarized below:

  • ISO 9001:2000 Requirements (shall statements)

  • ISO IEC 90003:2004 Guidelines

    • Recommendations (should statements)

    • Suggestions (may statements)


Use the ISO IEC 90003 guidelines to help you understand how
the ISO 9001 requirements can be met in a computer software
environment. The ISO 90003 guidelines try to explain how the
ISO 9001 requirements can be met if your organization
purchases, develops, operates, maintains, or supplies

computer software and delivers related support services.

ISO 90003 may be applied to software
in the following circumstances:

•  When the software is a product
    available for the market place.

•  When the software is used to support
    the processes of an organization.

•  When the software is part of a commercial
   contract with another organization.

•  When the software is related
   to software services.

•  When the software is embedded
   in a hardware product.

ISO IEC 90003 2004 is not supposed to be used as a set of criteria
against which software oriented quality management systems are
to be assessed for certification (registration) purposes. It is not a
certification standard. Instead, ISO 90003 is used to develop an
ISO 9001 2000 quality management system which can be used
to apply for an ISO 9001 certificate (not an ISO 90003 certificate).

ISO IEC 90003 2014 PAGES

Introduction to ISO IEC 90003 2014

Outline of ISO IEC 90003 2014 Standard

Overview of ISO IEC 90003 2014 Standard

ISO IEC 90003 2014 versus ISO 90003 2004

ISO IEC 90003 2014 Software Quality Definitions

ISO IEC 90003 2014 Software Standard in Plain English

ISO IEC 90003 2014 Software Quality Management Checklist

ISO IEC 90003 2014 Software Quality Management Audit Tool

ISO IEC 90003 2014 Software Quality Management Gap Analysis

Updated on February 1, 2017. First published on July 30, 2005.

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