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Conformance Testing (Compliance Testing)

Every testing project has some specifications or requirements documented which needs to be verified and also, every organisation has certain set of standards to be followed. Conformance testing which is also called as Compliance testing is a type of testing which ensures that the software product complies with all of these standards. In this article, we are going to learn about conformance testing in detail.


According to ISO/IEC, conformance testing is defined as a fulfillment of a product, process, or service of specified requirements. A conformance clause is defined as a section of the specification that states all the requirements or criteria that must be satisfied to claim conformance.

Conformance Testing

Features of Conformance Testing:

  1. Non-functional testing: since compliance testing or conformance testing deals with the validation of the standards set by the organisation, it falls under non-functional testing. In other words, this testing is not meant to test the behavioural aspects of the application but to test the compliance requirements for an application. This is because it falls under non-functional testing.
  2. Not enough on its own: it is to be noted that conformance testing only increases the probability that software application is implemented according to the interface specification. Normal testing process should be carried out before conformance testing phase in order to have complete test coverage. Therefore, the conformance testing is just a part of the overall testing procedure and not the complete testing in itself.
  3. Black box implementation: software implementations are black boxed in conformance testing, that means only interface and their relationship to the specifications are validated. In other words, when an interface receives a request, it is tested if the interface can handle the request and respond to it correctly. It has nothing to do with the functional aspect.


Purpose of Conformance Testing

The following are the purpose of Conformance testing.

  • When we develop an application then it is necessary to determine that the associated development, support and maintenance procedures meet the prescribed methodology. This can be made possible through conformance testing.
  • Conformance testing has one of the main objective to ensure that the deliverables associated with each phase of the development should comply with the required standards, procedures and guidelines which were agreed during the project planning.
  • Another purpose of conformance testing is to evaluate the documentation of the project such as SRS (Software Requirement Specifications), BRD (Business Requirement Specifications), FRD (Functional requirement Specifications), etc. It is the check for comprehensiveness, completeness and reasonableness.
  • The smooth operation of the project can only be censured through Conformance testing with which we can make sure that the way stuff is being developed is as agreed during the project planning.


Need To Conduct Conformance Testing

Project management is held responsible to opt for Conformance testing. As we mentioned earlier, it is not the complete testing in itself and falls under non-functional testing. But when an organisation decides to conduct conformance testing then it has its own advantages. The conformance testing will result in the smooth operation of the project, add quality to the end product and management has the greater visibility on the compliance standard set during the project planning. Application built with the conformance testing will always ensure the degree of compliance to the methodology and it will point out the violators of these methodologies. The violators of the compliance may be due to the improper understanding of methodology by the team member as agreed by the management. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the management to ensure that the entire team from top to bottom for a project should has the crystal clear understanding of the project standards, procedures and methodology. Project management should arrange regularly for the in-person training, web based training, presentations, and town hall to provide the clear picture of the standards, procedures and methodology to the project team.

There are couple of things which project management should ensure about the smooth operation of the conformance testing. One of such thing is the communication of the correct methodology and standards. If methods and standards published by the management are unclear, incomplete, poor quality and updated very frequently then conformance testing cannot add much value to the end software product. If there are minor mistakes in defining the methodology and standards then it should be either rectify or adopt a complete new methodology. Conformance testing should have enough details in its documents, such that they should provide the information required by the team from the inception of the project till the later stage of the project. The incorrect requirements will result in the incorrect software development which will be not less than a piece of junk which is no use at all.


How To Conduct Conformance Testing?

When the project management decides a particular software development life cycle then the compliance checks are decided and documented along with each phase of the SDLC. It is the responsibility of the conformance testing team which I recommend should be a separate team from the functional or performance testing team. The responsibility of the conformance testing team will be to check that the deliverable of each phase are compared against the standards as defined in the conformance testing document and find out the gaps. This can be easily done through the inspection process. Once the inspection is completed, the team should prepare a conformance test report which will outline a list of non-compliant areas that require urgent attention of the senior managers and need to be corrected as soon as possible. Once all the gaps and grey areas are fixed by the project team post conformance test report, the story doesn’t end there. The conformance testing team will further dig into the action items which are worked on in order to make sure that the non-conformance items are validated and closed properly.



In this article, we discussed about the Conformance testing, its need and how it is conducted in an organization. Compliance testing is mainly conducted through the inspection process and the result of the review process should be well documented for future use.

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