The Generic Profile for VSEs Developing Systems

This page describes the concept of Profiles, the Generic Profile and the four Profiles of the Generic Profile Group for VSEs developing systems having at least one hardware component. If the system being developed contains a software component, readers are encourage to use the ISO 29110 Software Engineering Management and Engineering Guides.

Systems, in the context of ISO/IEC 29110, are typically composed of hardware and software components. As illustrated in the figure below, a system could be composed of many elements. A system is a collection of related elements and other systems that exists in an environment and contributes to a common goal.

Elements of a System (Forsberg, K., ISO WG24 meeting, China, May 2016)


The core characteristic of the entities targeted by ISO/IEC 29110 is size, however there are other aspects and characteristics of VSEs that may affect profile preparation or selection, such as: Business Models (commercial, contracting, in-house development, etc.); Situational factors (such as criticality, uncertainty environment, etc.); and Risk Levels [1]. Creating one profile for each possible combination of values of the various dimensions introduced above would result in an unmanageable set of profiles.  Accordingly VSE’s profiles are grouped in such a way as to be applicable to more than one category. Profile Groups are a collection of profiles which are related either by composition of processes (i.e. activities, tasks), or by capability level, or both [2].


The Generic Profile Group

The Generic Profile Group has been defined [3] as applicable to a vast majority of VSEs that do not develop critical systems or software and have typical situational factors. The Generic Profile Group is a collection of four profiles (Entry, Basic Intermediate, Advanced), providing a progressive approach (i.e a roadmap) to satisfying a vast majority of VSEs.

Profile Group










Note: Part 1, Part 3 and Part 5 are available at no cost from ISO:

The set of documents is intended to be used by a VSE to establish processes to implement any development approach or methodology including, e.g., agile,  evolutionary, incremental, test driven development, etc. based on the organization or project needs of a VSE.



The Entry Profile (Published in November 2015)

The first version of the Entry profile (ISO/IEC TR 29110-6-5-1:2015), i.e. for VSEs working on small projects (e.g. at most six person-months effort) and for start-up VSEs.

The Management and Engineering Guide of the Entry profile is available at no cost from ISO (see below)

The Basic Profile (Published in August 2014)

This profile (ISO/IEC TR 29110-6-5-2:2014) applies for non-critical systems development projects.

The Management and Engineering Guide of the Basic profile is available at no cost from ISO (see below)

Using this profile, a VSE can obtain benefits in the following aspects:

The systems engineering Basic profile, as illustrated in the figure below, is composed of two processes: Project Management (PM) and System Definition and Realization (SR). An acquirer provides a SOW as an input to the PM process and receives a product as a result of SR process execution.

Processes of the Systems Engineering Basic Profile

The Basic profile is targeted at VSEs who do not develop critical systems and do not have experience with systems engineering process planning and implementation using ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288.

The Basic profile is intended to be used with any processes, techniques and methods that enhance the VSE's Stakeholders satisfaction and productivity.



The Intermediate Profile (Under development)




The Advanced Profile (Under development)


Freely Available Documents

To obtain freely available ISO 29110 documents, select the document you want to obtain (see an example below). 

Click on the 'downloadled' link (see below). A new page, titled 'Freely Available Standards', will open. Then, identify the ISO 29110 document needed, click on the ISO 29110 document and accept the ISO License Agreement. The document should download automatically.




[1] Laporte, C.Y., Alexandre, S., O’Connor, R., A Software Engineering Lifecycle Standard for Very Small Enterprises, in R.V. O’Connor et al. (Eds.): EuroSPI 2008, CCIS 16, pp. 129–141.

[2]  O’Connor, R.V., Laporte, C.Y., Towards the Provision of Assistance for Very Small Entities in Deploying Software Lifecycle Standards, 11th International Conference on Product Focused Software Development and Process Improvement  (Profes2010), Hosted by LERO, Ireland, June 21-23, 2010.

[3] ISO/IEC 29110-2-1 Systems and software Engineering - Lifecycle Profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) - Part 2-1: Framework and taxonomy,   ISO/IEC 29110-2-1:2015

Part 2 has been translated in Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese

[4] ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2 Software engineering -- Lifecycle profiles for Very Small Entities (VSEs) -- Part 5-1-2: Management and engineering guide: Generic profile group: Basic profile.  ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2:2011

ISO/IEC TR 29110-1 is available at no cost at:

ISO/IEC TR 29110-3 is available at no cost at:

ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-1 (Entry Profile) is available at no cost at: IEC TR 29110-5-1-1-2012(E)

ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2 (Basic Profile - English) is available at no cost at:

ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2 (Basic Profile - Spanish) is available at no cost at:

ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2 (Basic Profile - French) is available at no cost at:

ISO/IEC TR 29110-5-1-2 (Basic Profile - Portuguese) is available at:

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