ISO 29119 – a benevolent start Rikard Edgren

When I test software I try to start friendly, to see the good things about the system, and to not focus too much on problems, that might not be important for the whole. So I did this for the new ISO 29119 testing standard, where I have read the three parts that were published September 2013.

Part 1 – Concepts and Definitions

The terminology definitions are much better than the ISTQB glossary. Less words, and not as rigid.
Also good and humble to omit multi-faceted keywords like quality, stakeholder, usability.

Happy to see my favorite testing heuristic included: Diverse Half-Measures (Lessons Learned in Software Testing, #283) – use many testing strategies in order to get less holes in test coverage.

Quality Characteristics look pretty good, and even include some Charisma in the form of Satisfaction (part of Usability.)

Part 2 – Test processes

I love that ISO 29119 puts a lot more focus on test strategy. It comes before the test plan, which means that key strategic decisions will be communicated early. This not only makes sure focus is on important things, it also makes future reporting easier, since testing objectives are anchored.
I hope this puts even more energy to the current wave of test strategy awakening.

A key benefit of using the standard is that clients will know which documents to review, and where to look carefully. Especially useful since the adherance to the standard can be tailored, it supports both Full and Partial Compliance.

Nice to see that results from test execution isn’t totally binary: Pass, Fail, and unexpected.

Part 3 – Test documentation

The documentation standards also have examples from both traditional and agile projects (the standard duly notes that the example content shouldn’t be used as a template to follow.)
An example for dealing with agile projects: it is perfectly fine to not report status in written format.

I think the test plan will get most followers, and it is indeed a hotter version than IEEE 829:
How about ensuring that testers think about their stakeholders and how to communicate with them!
Also a plus for suggesting visual representation in the usually text-savvy test plans.
A much awaited separation of product and project risks, since we deal with them differently.
Some of these important things might be forgotten otherwise…


So is it useful?
Well, too early to tell, this was just the benevolent start…

Seba November 25th, 2013


Do you know place where I can download these docs w/o payment?


Rikard Edgren November 25th, 2013

No, the standard costs money and cannot be downloaded for free.
I doubt it is worth it unless you have special reasons.

Mike April 6th, 2014

I believe Parts 1-3 of ISO29119 are published: Pt 4 / 4,2 and 5 are WIP.
But … I have been asked about parts 6 and 7???
I can’t find ANYTHING about these … are they too Work In Progress, or future???

Thanks – Mike

Rikard Edgren April 7th, 2014

I believe part 6 is about process improvement, part 7 I haven’t heard about
I should also emphasize that this blog post was the benevolent one.
I have hard critique of the standard, but haven’t yet mustered the energy to write about it.

[…] I read it properly, and although I am biased against the standard I did a benevolent start, and blogged about it a year ago, […]