ISO 29119 is bad for Software testing


To start with, we believe that ISO 29119 is irrelevant to all testers, in the sense that it seems to be an overstructured process model, focused on relentless, ponderous, wasteful bureaucracy and paperwork, with negligible content on actual testing. If your organization is in the business of producing pointless documentation, so be it, but that’s not what we call testing. The approaches suggested by 29119 might be useful to people who are more interested in ass coverage than in test coverage.

Originators and supporters of the petition are trying to establish a pattern of opposition to the standard. This becomes important when lawyers or auditors ask “Why didn’t you follow ‘an internationally agreed set of standards for software testing that can be used within any software development life cycle or organisation’?” Loud voices of opposition—not only to the standard, but also to the process by which it was created and by which it will be marketed—will help to show that the suggestion of “international agreement” is meaningless; that the standard misrepresents testing as many prominent testers see it; that the standard is overly complex and opaque; that it is both too vague here and too specific there to be useful in “any” organisation; and that radically different contexts for testing—quite appropriately—require radically different approaches for testing.

As to the “why now” question, there’s another reason for the groundswell that I think we’re discovering as we go: over the years, in fits and starts, the context-driven community has become much larger and more capable of acting like a community. And that despite the fact that people who aspire to be fiercely independent thinkers can be a fairly fractious bunch. A community that welcomes serious disagreement will have serious disagreements, and there have been some. Yet it seems that, every now and then, there are some things that are just odious enough to unite us. Personally, I’m treating this as a trial run and a learning experience to prepare for something seriously important.


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