Guide to Conformance Testing

Conformance testing is one such type of software testing used by testers to test whether the system conforms to all the stated requirements and regulations or not. Therefore, to help you understand conformance testing / compliance testing in detail, here is an elaborated discussion on the same.

What is Conformance Testing or Compliance Testing?

Conformance testing, which is also known as Compliance Testing and Type Testing, is a methodology, which is used to ensure that a software product, process, computer program or system meets a defined set of standards before its release in the software industry. These standards are commonly defined by large, independent entities such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and are followed by software engineers universally. This type of software testing is a non-functional testing, which is carried out by private companies that specialize in that service, as well as by some vendors, who maintain an in-house department for conducting conformance tests prior to the initial release of a product. Conformance testing is a vital part of Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) and is used to ensure the compliance of deliverables of each phase of the development.

Other features of conformance/compliance testing are:

Features of Conformance Testing:

  • This is a regulatory requirement.
  • Conformance testing is performed with the assistance of approved methodologies and techniques.
  • It requires compliance, load, stress and volume testing.
  • Conformance is a robust testing process.
  • Performed by certified external organisations.

Conformance Testing Infographics:

conformance testing Infographics

How to Conduct Conformance Testing?

The process of conformance testing is mainly performed through a defined process, which helps the team of testers get expected results as well as allows them to cover all parts of testing effectively. Therefore, here are the various steps followed by the team for Conformance Testing.

  1. Evaluation: Analyse standards and specifications of the software. Moreover, check whether the deliverables of each phase are compared against the standards defined in the Conformance Testing Document.
  2. Inspection: Once the evaluation of the standards and deliverables is completed, testers inspect the software product to find gaps. Here, they also select the test suit or the tools used for the testing procedure.
  3. Designing: To ensure the process of testing is implemented smoothly, the lead or managers of the testing team design the testing procedure.
  4. Verification:Each and every aspect of the software, along with the necessary validations, is cross checked by the team.
  5. Certification: The team here adapt relevant testing policies and certificates and test the standards of the developed software.
  6. Conformance Test Report: After the process of certification, the team prepares a conformance report, which out-lines a list of non-compliant areas that require urgent attention and need to be corrected as soon as possible by the management team.

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Objective of Conformance Testing:

A vital part of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), Conformance/Compliance testing is an important regulatory requirement. It is crucial as it verifies that a software, process, systems, or any other element of the product is in compliance to the laws and standards. It is a formal process that validates the precise way of testing. Other objectives of this type of testing are:

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Advantages of Conformance Testing:

From the above discussion, we can easily conclude that the advantages of conformance and compliance testing are numerous. It is a testing process that not only ensures compatibility of a software with the stated standards and regulations, but also makes sure that it has exceptional quality and functionality. Hence, following are the advantages of conformance testing:

  • Results in smooth operating of the system.
  • Adds quality to the end product.
  • Ensures its authenticity and guarantees effectiveness.
  • The management has greater visibility on the compliance standard set during the project planning.
  • Allows testing with approved methodologies.

Difference between Conformance Testing and Compliance Testing:

In software testing, there is a significant overlap between conformance and compliance testing. It is common for conformance testing to ensure that the compliance of stated standards with the law. Even though both conformance and compliance testing are same, there are still some elements that differentiate them from each other. Therefore, to elaborate their differences, here is a comparison of the two.

Conformance Testing Compliance Testing
1. Formal method of testing. 1. An informal way of software testing.
2. Precise way of testing standards. 2. It is not as precise as conformance testing.
3. Applicable to only those Operating Systems that possess Certification Authority. 3. Applicable to an operating system that provides a single API of Portable OS Interface.
4. It is used to provide full support to the given standards. 4. Used for testing the system that provides some support to the given standards.


Conformance testing, which is a significant part of software testing, is performed to verify if the product meets the stated requirements and standards, which are essential for effective software development. Usually performed by external organisations, this type of testing is also known as Compliance Testing and Type Testing. With the assistance of this testing a tester can easily test Operating systems that possess certification authority. In short, by implementing Conformance testing/Compliance testing, during the early stages of software development, a tester can guarantee the quality, effectiveness as well as performance of the software product.

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