Although folks have been talking about ISO29119 and its possible impact on the testing community for a while now, it wasn't until this past August at CAST 2014 that the issue really took off. James Christie, one of the speakers at the conference, gave a presentation regarding his opposition to the standard. This action is what I consider the catalyst for the opposition that has followed since then. But why the opposition? And why now? These are but a couple of questions I will try to answer during this writing.
Who are the opponents?
The main opponents of 29119 seemed to have gathered around the newly formed ISST whose mission, as stated on their website, is to "Advocate for the adoption of context driven testing". I have not yet found any opponent to 29119 that were not a member of the Context-Driven school of testing. And if there are any, they have not been vocal as of yet.
Why are they opposing it?
In order to understand the opposition, one has to do a little bit of research and go back in history (not that long just a few years). I have observed that there always has been conflict and friction going on between the ISTQB and the CDT folks. And since the creators of the petition feel that there is a link between the ISTQB and ISO29119 they must oppose it. Evidence of this as well as this opposition has been brewing on many social circles including LinkedIn and Twitter just to name a few, just do a search on any of these mediums and you'll find plenty of lively debates on the subject. In all of the conversations I follow on social media and read on blog posts from the many members of the CDT the common theme is basically the same; we must oppose the standard because we cannot standardize testing. They basically just oppose it but do not offer an alternative. This leads me to believe that they are opposing it because they must! Picture here in the USA you are a member of the Republican party and they propose a bill. The Democrats will review this bill and decide they are against it and request that all members of their party vote against this bill. But wait, what about all of the members of both political parties individual opinion about this bill? Well, that doesn’t count as much as the greater goal: to advance the parties political agendas.
Quite frankly the reason this petition to #stop29119 happened is because the time was right. There was a captive audience (at CAST), a presentation was given (regarding 29119 opposition), the response was observed and the opportunity taken. And the petition was born. Granted this is an over-simplified timeline, however, based on the transcripts of roundtable discussions I have read its all based on facts.
What about us free-thinking testers that welcome input from all schools?
I for one choose not join any particular school of thought. I am a free-thinking tester that believes that testing has always been a human function and based on context. In fact everything we do, as humans, is based on context! I also welcome any structure or process offered by an organization or individual (standard or not), why? Because if we truly believe that testing is based on context, then obviously one must keep an open mind to _ALL_ approaches, processes and methods. Further, I think that opposing a specific approach, process or method limits our ability as a tester and does not help our customer in the long run. This is why I have abstained from signing the #stop29119 petition and urge all folks in our profession to do your own research before signing. Ask yourselves how will this standard change the way I test? My answer is, if you believe testing is a human function and based on context, it will not.
As free-thinking testers it is our responsibility to take charge of the direction we want our profession to head towards. It is my view that keeping an open mind and including everyone is the only way to stop this conflict and advance our profession. Everything has its place; standardization and certification as well as no standardization or certification. As context driven testers we should know when to choose each one. All this petition to #stop29119 is doing is polarizing testing and the members of our community. This goes against my values and my mission so I choose to abstain from signing the petition.