Why I am signing the petition to stop ISO 29119

There is a movement being started to stop ISO 29119. If you are even a wee bit serious about your profession, you should be knowing about it. Here’s all about it. Read it if you want to know more, or just skip to the end and sign the petitions.

James Christie gave a presentation in CAST 2014 on Standards – promoting quality or restricting competition? He talked about how some organizations are trying to enforce testing standards for their own economic gain, while victimizing the software testing profession. He also stated how the standards promote excessive documentation over actual testing, thus affecting the quality of testing by taking away time from the process. At a time, when we are trying to implement Agile, and moving towards exploratory testing, heavy documentation and rigid processes make no sense. And, to force it down the throats of everyone in this profession should not be tolerated.

As Fiona Charles puts it “People on Agile projects will struggle with the conflicting demands of their projects and the standards.”

There is a reason why I have not taken the certification. Why should I pay so much money for something that won’t add any value to my work, except a bunch of words I might never need to use? I know this for a fact that being certified does not say anything about the tester’s expertise or potential. Most current certifications, for a fact, can be easily passed by rote learning. But, would that help? Rote learning never helps. How much do you remember of the history lessons from your high school? You did pass the exam.

I have known many testers who are certified, but do not have a clue about testing, and are low performers. I have also known many testers, who are awesome at their work, have high potential, are high performers, and are not certified. That is why I ignore the certification status of people I interview, and instead focus on finding out myself about how much they are interested in testing, and how well they know their craft.

This is what Karen Johnson says about wrong hiring based on blind belief in certifications:
“For several years when I was working as a test manager, I interviewed and hired numerous people. Once during an interview, a candidate pulled out a certificate and held it up for me, telling me he should be hired instantly due to his certification. I asked that he put the certificate away and talk with me. After discussion, it was my assessment that the candidate had little working understanding of how to test a product. Perhaps he had memorized material or had someone else take the exam for him – whatever had been the case; there was no evidence that the candidate would be able to perform well. As this event took place some years ago, I will refrain from trying to recall more specifics.
Given this same scenario, if I did not have a testing background but needed to hire someone, perhaps I would have been convinced based on the certificate that the candidate was equipped for the job.

If a company is hiring testers and the person or persons interviewing do not understand testing (which is often the case with HR), I do not believe that hiring person is qualified to make a decision – or even qualified to establish a pool of candidates for others to interview. This is where certification is dangerous – at first glance, it sounds good, it seems like it should provide some assurance that a person is qualified. But as I have found, having a certificate does not provide evidence of a person’s knowledge or skill.”

If you read my blog, you will know I am not against learning. In fact, I am very passionate about learning. I keep reading books and blogs to learn more about my profession. But, I want to learn out of curiosity and interest, not out of fear. That is what this standard tries to instill – the fear of losing your job or validity as a software tester if you have not paid the bucks to get certified by rote.

If the standard is accepted, companies will start believing that testers without a certification are not good, which is far from the truth. They will start over-depending on tester certifications to judge the quality of a tester.

Iain McCowatt says “Standards in manufacturing make sense: the variability between two different widgets of the same type should be minimal, so acting in the same way each time a widget is produced is desirable. This does not apply to services, where demand is highly variable, or indeed in software, where every instance of demand is unique.

Attempting to act in a standardized manner in the face of variable demand is an act of insanity: it’s akin to being asked to solve a number of different problems yet merrily reciting the same answer over and over. Sometimes you’ll be right, sometimes wrong, sometimes you’ll score a partial hit. In this way, applying the processes and techniques of ISO 29119 will result in effort being expended on activities that do nothing to aid the cause of testing.”

Karen also explains this in detail in her blog where she says that the knowledge required by an e-commerce software tester, a BI software tester, and a Medical device tester are vastly different, and can not be covered by a generic testing certification. The testers would instead do better to learn more about their domain, and to get domain-specific knowledge.

ISO 29119 claims that it is “an internationally-agreed set of standards for software testing”. But, it is not “internationally-agreed”. In fact, many influential software testers, and the experts that I look up to, are against it.

Karen Johnson – My Thoughts on Testing Certifications
Fiona Charles – Why I oppose adoption of ISO 29119
Iain McCowatt – Stop 29119
Keith Klain – The Petition to Stop ISO 29119
Michael Bolton – Rising Against the Rent-Seekers
James Bach – How not to standardize software testing

If you agree with the above view point, and are interested in saving our profession from vandalism, please sign the below shared documents:

The Professional Tester’s Manifesto

The Petition to ISO

Other articles of note –
ISO 29119 Debate
On ISO 29119 content


My Life purpose is to…Learn



(Image source: http://pjmcclure.com/blog/learn-love-learning/)

This post has been in my drafts for almost 2 years.. I don’t even know what took it so long. It took me time to understand, but I have found it. My life purpose. That was also around the time when I left my first job. I knew it was no longer helping with my life purpose. I love to learn new stuff whether it is new skills or other people’s view points, or maybe just getting on in the world. That’s why I love reading books and blogs. That’s why I want to travel and see other people of other cultures live their lives. That’s why I consider every life experience and every person I come across as a learning. I was reading Carol Adrienne’s “The Purpose of your life just before I found my life purpose. So, I attribute two things in my life to that book. First, finding my life purpose, and second, finding the courage to walk out of the job I had started to almost hate. Have you found your life purpose? What is it?


Follow your passion

If you follow your passion, the money and happiness will follow.

But if you just follow the route to make money, without paying heed to your heart and passion, happiness will get lost somewhere on the way.

That is why it is so important to follow your passion.

Our teachers, parents, and elders are so wary of unconventional jobs that they get scared when their kids try to make a living in a way that is “not normal”.

But, one has to learn that when the children follow their passion, they work hard on it because they are passionate about what they do. This eventually makes them an expert in the field, and experts are always looked up to for guidance. There can always be a way to make a living out of what you love if you are just courageous enough to follow your heart.

Anyone out there who’s followed their passion, instead of the ‘conventional’ jobs their parents wanted them to take up? I would love to hear your story.


(Image source: http://zenpencils.com/comic/98-alan-watts-what-if-money-was-no-object/ )

How to Find Happiness

I came across this strip yesterday and loved it!

This got me wondering (yet again) why it was more important to people to get a big salary than to live a full life.

Why run after that big salary package when all it means is losing sight of the bigger picture that is life?

Isn’t satisfaction and happiness in what you do more important than how much you earn?

Why do people think the measure of success is how much a person earns, and not how many relationships he/she has nurtured, or how satisfied with life he/she is?

Doesn’t successful living mean not having any regrets with the life you have lived?

What is wrong with the husband staying at home, and taking care of the child and home (role-reversal in some people’s words) while the wife goes to office?

What is wrong with not going to an office for a 9 to 5 job, and working at home at your own time?

I would respect any person who invents his/her own life meaning like the guy in the strip. After all, finding the meaning of your life is what actually makes life worth living.

(image source: http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-happiness-advice-from-bill-watterson)happiness-watterson

Sharing my love for Python – I love Python!!

This is an old post from an earlier blog of mine..yet I wanted to share it here too, because I still love Python a lot. 🙂

python logo

I am not talking about the snake. I am talking about the language.

Simple yet so powerful (a perfect combination!). That’s my impression of it. And I am glad I got introduced to it.

A lot many thanks to www.udacity.com for that.

Also, it is wonderful to know I have many fellow Python-lovers. Like this guy whose blog I came across – life is short – you need Python!

Yes, I feel the same. Everyone should know Python. 🙂

Life as a 20-something Career Woman

Office Woman

On the occasion of Women’s day, I thought I’d write a post on my life as a 20-something career woman.

First of all, I will send a big thank you to the women in my life who have influenced the way I look at my job, and the way I handle my work life.
They are: my mother, and my first boss and mentor.

My mother taught me how to be always true to yourself, even while working for someone else. She’s been an example of sincerity, hard work, and of always standing up for what you think is right (even when your boss thinks otherwise)

And I was lucky to have a great boss, right in my first project. I have always been lucky in that aspect, having never faced a situation of having to report to a boss who makes life terrible (unlike some of my friends who have/had such bosses). She has always been an ideal to me – an example of how an awesome mentor is. She helped boost my confidence in my abilities (like a good mentor does), and she was someone with whom anyone could discuss anything – with ease. I also learnt one important lesson from her – It is possible to love your job so much that people call you a workaholic. This lesson helped me through times when I did not agree with where my career path was going. It gave me strength to stand up, take action, and work towards the goal of finding what I loved, rather than just wasting time in a stagnant position.

Now, being a 20-something career woman, who’s not married yet, is definitely easier than being a working mother. Hats off to all the young working mothers out there. I guess it is time every company out there opens an in-house daycare center for the young children of the employees.
Am I digressing?

Well…it is easier. But, not that easy. There’s still a difference when you are working, and you are a woman. Most of the time, I have felt equal to my male peers. No one I have met has made me feel that I lack somewhere because I am a woman. No one can ever make me feel that, but I have always been treated well by all my colleagues. I don’t know whether I have been lucky, or whether it is the boon of working in a private sector, or something else.
There has only been one difference I have ever felt, and that is – working late nights is very uncomfortable if you are a woman.. There are safety concerns, your parents get worried, and even though you might not mind working, you feel it’s not worth the discomfort it causes around you.

In a nutshell, what I feel about being a working woman is nothing can put you down unless you let it. You are no less than anyone else and you can achieve heights if you just realize that each one of us is full of potential to shine like the sun.

Cheers to you my sisters!!