Standards are published documents used to delineate the technical specifications, rules, guidelines, procedures, and characteristics considered as the minimally acceptable benchmarks for materials, products, methods, systems, and/or services used by people every day. By adhering to standards organizations ensure that their products and services are functional and reliable, are compatible and interoperable with associated products and services, are effective and fit for their designed purposes and uses, and support the safety and health of users.
Standards are created by a wide variety of organizations. The most common are:
Many countries also have national standardization organizations. Country standards are in the language of the country. English translations are not typically available.
Standards are the foundation upon which the product development process relies. Not only do they establish consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted but also reflect the shared values, aspirations, and responsibilities we as a society project upon each other and the world. Proper application of standards not only fuels compatibility and interoperability, which streamlines and speeds up the lab-to-market development but also makes it easier to understand and compare competing products. International standards also promote international trade by ensuring that products fit performance and design expectations globally.
Understanding what standards represent and how to apply them correctly are critical skills for professional engineers and product developers. Those who continuously hone these skills and keep informed about the most current standards in their areas of expertise not only are well-positioned to drive innovation in their organizations but also enhance their market value as professional engineers.
- Adapted from IEEE