MIL-STD-498 (Military-Standard-498) was a United States military standard whose purpose was to "establish uniform requirements for software development and documentation." It was released Nov. 8, 1994, and replaced DOD-STD-2167A, DOD-STD-7935A, and DOD-STD-1703. It was meant as an interim standard, to be in effect for about two years until a commercial standard was developed.
Unlike previous efforts like the seminal "2167A" which was mainly focused on the risky new area of software development, "498" was the first attempt at a truly comprehensive description of the systems development life-cycle. It was the baseline that all of the ISO, IEEE, and related efforts after it replaced. It also contains much of the material that the subsequent professionalization of project management covered in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The document "MIL-STD-498 Overview and Tailoring Guidebook" is 98 pages. The "MIL-STD-498 Application and Reference Guidebook" is 516 pages. Associated to these were document templates, or Data Item Descriptions, described below, bringing documentation and process order that could scale to projects of the size humans were then conducting (aircraft, battleships, canals, dams, factories, satellites, submarines, etcetera).
It was one of the few military standards that survived the "Perry Memo", then U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry's 1994 memorandum commanding the discontinuation of defense standards. However, it was canceled on May 27, 1998 and replaced by the essentially identical demilitarized version EIA J-STD-016  as a process example guide for IEEE 12207. Several programs outside of the U.S. military continued to use the standard due to familiarity and perceived advantages over alternative standards, such as free availability of the standards documents and presence of process detail including contractually-usable Data Item Descriptions.
Data Item Descriptions
MIL-STD-498 standard describes the development and documentation in terms of 22 Data Item Descriptions (DIDs) from which an effort will select to conduct the system development and support efforts. Each DID generically describes the required content of a data item, a file or document that describes the system or some aspect of the system life-cycle. These documents could take many forms, from source code, to installation scripts, to various electronic and paper reports, and the contracting party (e.g., the government) is encouraged to specify acceptable formats. Any data item description is tailored for a specific contract, meaning sections not desired for a particular effort are identified as not to be provided as part of identifying the Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL) of what items are to be produced and delivered by a contractor. Exactly which DIDs and what parts of the DIDs are required for a particular system depends on the nature of the project and how parts of it are being produced by contract(s).
- "MIL-STD-498 PDF Roadmap, documents types mentioned in order or life-cycle use" (PDF).
- "Abelia example DID, System/Subsystem Specification as used in MIL-STD-498" (PDF).
- "Software Standards Evolution and Current State" (PDF). CrossTalk. Dec 1999.
- "DOD-STD-2167 DEFENSE SYSTEM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT". 1994-12-05.
- "MIL-STD-498, SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND DOCUMENTATION" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. 1994-12-05.
- "MIL-STD-498, OVERVIEW AND TAILORING GUIDEBOOK" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. 1996-01-31.
- "MIL-STD-498, APPLICATION AND REFERENCE GUIDEBOOK" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. 1996-01-31.
- Reed Sorensen (June 1996). "MIL-STD-498, J-STD-016, and the U.S. Commercial Standard". CrossTalk Magazine. Archived from the original on 2004-12-16.
- "Software Standards". Archived from the original on 2013-03-17.
J-STD-016 is the “demilitarized” version of Mil-STD-498