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At EuroSTAR 2012 I took the opportunity to learn something about the new international software testing standard since I wouldn’t take the time to read through all this stuff, anyways.

Stuart Reid explained that he’s convinced that we need testing standards. Reid explained that there are few standards for software testing, and they merely cover parts. For example, take unit testing: there are two standards: british and IEEE, they conflict with each other. Reid claimed there is no standard for integration testing, acceptance testing, and so on.

The ISO 29119 standard consists of the processes module, the documentation module, and the testing techniques module. They are based upon the concepts and vocabulary part. Reid claimed that each individual part can stand on its own. The new ISO standard will also send the already existing IEEE standards to its retirement.

In the first part, concepts and vocabulary are covered. This includes scope, conformance, normative references, and definitions. There are also different software testing concepts, and testing in different lifecycle models. FInally, it covers roles and responsibilities.

Part 2 consists of the testing process. These are organizational test process, test management test processes, and dynamic test processes. Part 3 is on test documentation. Reid didn’t break it down to a clearer level for me, other than saying “Test Documentation”. I think it’s mostly consisting of IEEE 839 stuff. In part 4 the techniques are covered. Black box vs. white box testing, test coverage measurements, and some examples for applying the techniques, and testing of quality characteristics (or non-functional requirements). The annex part also gives hints on the election of particular techniques and how to assess the effectiveness of different techniques.

What stroke me most about the things that Reid described was the level of treatment of the standards group. Getting such a standard seems to be a touch job. More over, things become political. I couldn’t count the number of times Reid mentioned blacklisting other people in the process of coming up with this particular standard. Maybe it’s more my interpretation, but I noticed a lot of people interested more in getting the name and influence into this piece, rather than trying to help coming up with a working testing model.

One example that I would like to repeat to give a hint. In the second part, Reid mentioned that static testing is missing because one country’s votes voted for getting this thing out. Once they had taken out the static testing techniques, that particular country voted to get them back again. Puzzled, I wonder why anyone would ever make the effort to work in such a work(-avoidance?-)group.

Reid explained that the standard is meant to be tailored to the needs of the company. They cover Agile and traditional, Reid claimed. I wonder where the explanation for Agile testing projects came from, and what sort of evidence the working group took to put the Agile pieces in place. Overall the description seemed to be too generous to be useful for me. Considering the world of ScrumButs out there, I think the ISO 29119 assessment will end up in “whatever we would like to do”.

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