“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

ISO 29119 overview

Is ISO 29119, the new software testing standard useful or not? I’ve been reading a lot lately about the latest ISO 29119 Standard which has recently been released (some sections final and some in draft form) and has received abundant ‘test coverage’ from certain members of the software testing community. There is even a petition of sorts to ‘stop’ it.

Note I say “software testing community”, because I don’t believe there has been any negative feedback from the software engineering or software development community, although testing is all part of the process.

It seems the ‘context’ driven testing community feels that the Standard violates some rules or takes away somehow from what they are doing?

It doesn’t at all. The frightening word perhaps is ‘standard’. This word has connotations of ‘final say’, but as with any ISO standard, the ‘Standard’ is intended as a starting point, guideline, or framework to get our hands around. Usually standards are born from nebulous concepts that we need to try to understand better, thus the ISO 29119 standard was born.

With all the negative feedback on the standard, I think those folks need to just relax a bit. Life is too short to get angry about ISO 29119! When people hold a strong opinion, sometimes it is difficult to listen to–and hear–the opinions of others who have different viewpoints.  For those that oppose the Standard, it certainly takes nothing away from your efforts nor does it detract from your point of view, but perhaps just gives a starting point to add context and customization. In fact, all ISO standards explicitly state that they need to be tailored to the situation and organization. No where does it say, ‘This is the rule’.

We are in the ‘Age of Context’ and to those that promote and practice Context Driven Testing, I think that adaptive thinking is very applicable to today’s world. We definitely don’t want anyone applying the Standard blindly or in the wrong way or context. But it could be a foundation or starting point for someone to start up a testing effort, or perhaps list out things so that they don’t forget. Sometimes people learning from scratch also need a guide or reference.

In the future, we will all need to be more #ContextResponsive and #ContextAware, not only in our software testing, but in our engineering and design and life in general. Sensors all around us are collecting more and more data that is now easily stored (cloud) and accessed (mobile) from anywhere. Harvesting that information and intelligently transforming it into anticipatory and predictive actions and services can truly enhance our lives. But that doesn’t mean that a standard, or framework takes away from any of that.