The international standard for Software Testing, ISO 29119, is soon to be upon us. There are people writing it and expanding it and creating it right now.
I’ve signed the petition against it because I don’t agree with some of it and it’s supposed to represent the industry I work in and I had no chance to input to it.
I wasn’t involved in shaping any of it, yet it’s soon to become a strong international standard in software testing.
My concern is not about how it will affect myself as such, but about how it will stunt the growth of the companies who sign up to it. It’s my belief that the standard will stunt the growth of the employees also.
I believe standards are useful. I believe standards can be helpful. They can turn laws in to process, or set out norms of operating that are good for business and society. This is useful.
Standards can also be restrictive though.
A company operating under this ISO 29119 standard may lose their ability to experiment and find new ways of doing good testing. Our industry and craft could suffer. The standard may hinder our ability to evolve our testing to be relevant to the market demands of the companies we work for.
I’m not overly worried just yet though. The standard is not even complete and it will take years before it starts impacting the market. The standard will likely be voluntary to adopt also. Companies that are experimenting and pushing boundaries will most likely not adopt it. At least not without a compelling reason. That means testing can still evolve.
That means there will still be a place for people like me. People who want to apply relevant test techniques and approaches. People like me who want to create new ways of testing that don’t yet exist.
And how can a standard cover something that doesn’t yet exist?
After writing this post I realised I’m describing a similar testing industry to right now. An industry where lots of companies rely on certifications. An industry where the minority are doing the innovative testing.
So will the ISO 29119 make a difference? Will it even get off the ground? Should we be trying to fight it if we don’t agree with it?
Or should we just accept it will happen and continue to do the best work we can; continue to be relevant to the companies we work for?
I suspect time will tell. As it always does.
If you don’t think the ISO 29119 is a good idea then consider signing the petition.