Our world runs on software. It permeates every part of our lives. In the coming years, unmanned vehicles, robots, advanced medical devices, and other complex algorithm-driven control systems will make this obvious to a public that does not yet have a deep understanding of how software engineering and testing are related.

Quality issues, such as healthcare.gov, are typically seen by the public as testing failures, not software engineering failures. We may soon find ourselves in a regulatory climate reacting to the latest “Very Bad Thing” with an imperative to “Do Something!” If we allow standards and vendors to define the dialog, people who purport to sell a complete methodology will inform laws and regulations on how testing must occur, with the result of making us less safe.

Our industry, and our craft, thrives and grows when professional testers can apply their skills and experience to solving testing problems. AST must present alternatives to context-imperial process instruction and advocate for them. It is for this purpose that AST has chartered the Committee on Standards and Professional Practices (CSPP).

By engaging directly with standards and regulation, CSPP aim to defend our craft, protect our fellow testers economically, improve public safety, and educate the public on testing. CSPP will help AST become a strong voice for modern test techniques, selected by skilled testers for the context they are working in. We will advance AST as a credible, trusted, cited, and authoritative source of information for people who do not work in software engineering when they think, write, and legislate about software testing and quality. We will provide critiques, describe alternatives, and highlight what actually works in the real world.

In order to benefit the membership of the AST and wider community, this committee will:

  • Present positions and rhetoric at testing conferences, sharing findings and inviting feedback to improve them.
  • Publicly seek seats on standards bodies such as ISO, enter comments on standards under development, and contribute to new standards.
  • Conduct workshops to finalize and gather support and signatories for the positions and critiques they develop.
  • Monitor legislative activity pertaining to software testing, quality, and engineering, report on what is happening to AST at large, and attempt to intervene/engage with legislative investigations and actions.

The founding members of CSPP are James Christie, Albert Gareev, Michael Larsen, Eric Proegler (chair), and Mark Tomlinson. Please view our charter for further details. AST members who wish to get involved with CSPP, please email cspp@associationforsoftwaretesting.org for further information.