ISO 29119 – Testers! Don’t Buy Into It!

Here I simply want to be one more voice calling attention to ISO 29119 and the viewpoint that it should not be adopted.

For context, ISO, along with IEEE and IEC, have been promoting a set of standards known as ISO 29119. Its focus is primarily on test planning and documentation. You can feel free to buy the full standard but the fact that you have to buy it is pretty much point number one against it.

There is a momentum right now against the standard, including a petition to stop it.

I signed it. If you feel so inclined, you should as well.

My particular problem with standards like these is that, as with many such concepts, there’s an assumption that adhering to the standards ensures a good test process and thus good quality. Test plans and test result documentation do not guarantee any sort of quality and they most certainly don’t guide people to test better, which I believe is one of the ongoing concerns in the test industry as a whole. My concern is that standards can have a negative effect, often removing the flexibility and need to innovate.

All this said, others have already commented on this far better than I could. Check out the comprehensive list of thoughts and opinions provided by Huib Schoots.

Here are some highlights from my point of view:

Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, being informed about ISO 29119 is a good thing.


This article was written by Jeff Nyman

Anything I put here is an approximation of the truth. You're getting a particular view of myself ... and it's the view I'm choosing to present to you. If you've never met me before in person, please realize I'm not the same in person as I am in writing. That's because I can only put part of myself down into words. If you have met me before in person then I'd ask you to consider that the view you've formed that way and the view you come to by reading what I say here may, in fact, both be true. I'd advise that you not automatically discard either viewpoint when they conflict or accept either as truth when they agree.

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