Wednesday, September 10, 2008

IEEE 829: Standard For Software Test Documentation

IEEE 829-1998, also known as the 829 Standard for Software Test Documentation, is an IEEE standard that specifies the form of a set of documents for use in eight defined stages of software testing, each stage potentially producing its own separate type of document. The standard specifies the format of these documents but does not stipulate whether they all must be produced, nor does it include any criteria regarding adequate content for these documents. These are a matter of judgments outside the purview of the standard. The documents are:
Test Plan: a management planning document that shows:
• How the testing will be done (including SUT configurations).
• Who will do it
• What will be tested
• How long it will take (although this may vary, depending upon resource availability).
• What the test coverage will be, i.e. what quality level is required
Test Design Specification: detailing test conditions and the expected results as well as test pass criteria.
Test Case Specification: specifying the test data for use in running the test conditions identified in the Test Design Specification
Test Procedure Specification: detailing how to run each test, including any set-up preconditions and the steps that need to be followed
Test Item Transmittal Report: reporting on when tested software components have progressed from one stage of testing to the next
Test Log: recording which tests cases were run, who ran them, in what order, and whether each test passed or failed
Test Incident Report: detailing, for any test that failed, the actual versus expected result, and other information intended to throw light on why a test has failed. This document is deliberately named as an incident report, and not a fault report. The reason is that a discrepancy between expected and actual results can occur for a number of reasons other than a fault in the system. These include the expected results being wrong, the test being run wrongly, or inconsistency in the requirements meaning that more than one interpretation could be made. The report consists of all details of the incident such as actual and expected results, when it failed, and any supporting evidence that will help in its resolution. The report will also include, if possible, an assessment of the impact upon testing of an incident.
Test Summary Report: A management report providing any important information uncovered by the tests accomplished, and including assessments of the quality of the testing effort, the quality of the software system under test, and statistics derived from Incident Reports. The report also records what testing was done and how long it took, in order to improve any future test planning. This final document is used to indicate whether the software system under test is fit for purpose according to whether or not it has met acceptance criteria defined by project stakeholders.

Relationship with other standards
Other standards that may be referred to when documenting according to IEEE 829 include:
• IEEE 1008, a standard for unit testing
• IEEE 1012, a standard for Software Verification and Validation
• IEEE 1028, a standard for software inspections
• IEEE 1044, a standard for the classification of software anomalies
• IEEE 1044-1, a guide to the classification of software anomalies
• IEEE 1233, a guide for developing system requirements specifications
• IEEE 730, a standard for software quality assurance plans
• IEEE 1061, a standard for software quality metrics and methodology
• IEEE 12207, a standard for software life cycle processes and life cycle data
• BSS 7925-1, a vocabulary of terms used in software testing
• BSS 7925-2, a standard for software component testing

Use of IEEE 829
The standard forms part of the training syllabus of the ISEB Foundation and Practitioner Certificates in Software Testing promoted by the British Computer Society. ISTQB, following the formation of its own syllabus based on ISEB's and Germany's ASQF syllabi, also adopted IEEE 829 as the reference standard for software testing documentation.

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