TPS report

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A mock-up of a TPS report cover sheet

A TPS report ("test procedure specification") is a document used by a quality assurance group or individual, particularly in software engineering, that describes the testing procedures and the testing process.


The official definition and creation is provided by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as follows:

IEEE 829 – Test Procedure Specification
The Test Procedures are developed from both the Test Design and the Test Case Specification. The document describes how the tester will physically run the test, the physical set-up required, and the procedure steps that need to be followed. The standard defines ten procedure steps that may be applied when running a test.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

Office Space[edit]

Its use in popular culture increased after the comedic 1999 film Office Space. In the movie, multiple managers and coworkers inquire about an error that protagonist Peter Gibbons (played by Ron Livingston) makes in omitting a cover sheet to send with his "TPS reports". It is used by Gibbons as an example that he has eight different persons he directly reports to. According to the film's writer and director Mike Judge, the abbreviation stood for "Test Program Set" in the movie.[2]

After Office Space, "TPS report" has come to connote pointless, mindless paperwork,[3] and an example of "literacy practices" in the work environment that are "meaningless exercises imposed upon employees by an inept and uncaring management" and "relentlessly mundane and enervating".[4]


In King of the Hill (also produced by Mike Judge) Kahn is being chewed out, then remarks to his boss "No sir, I filed my TPS report yesterday.". The 2015 puzzle video game Please, Don't Touch Anything featured the question 'What is a TPS Report?' as one of many hidden clues that lead to a unique ending. In Lost season 1, episode 4, John Locke's boss says "Locke, I told you I need those TPS reports done by noon today." In Ralph Breaks the Internet, a TPS report is visibly hanging in one of the cubicles seen during Ralph's viral video montage. However, it was incorrectly placed in a cubicle in the accounting department, where TPS reports are not functionally relevant. In Borderlands 2, a legendary weapon is named the 'Conference Call' with a flavor text description of "We need to talk about your DPS reports", parodying the corporate term by replacing it with a common first-person shooter acronym.

In The Mandalorian, TPS reports are mentioned in the episode The Believer as work to do by the character Migs Mayfeld when attempting to avoid an imperial officer, attributed as an Office Space Easter Egg.[5][6]

In one of the commercials in the series Terry Tate: Office Linebacker, Terry Tate tackles an office worker to the floor, and screams at him, "You know you need a cover sheet on your TPS reports, Richard!"


  1. ^ "IEEE 829 Documentation". Archived from the original on 2017-06-10. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  2. ^ Hoinski, Michael (2009-02-09). "Office Space' Cast Reunite at 10th Anniversary Screening of Mike Judge's Cult Film". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  3. ^ Little, Steven S. (2008). The Milkshake Moment: Overcoming Stupid Systems, Pointless Policies and Muddled Management to Realize Real Growth. John Wiley & Sons. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-470-25746-3.
  4. ^ Williams, Bronwyn T.; Zenger, Amy A. (2007). Popular Culture and Representations of Literacy. Routledge/Taylor & Francis. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-415-36095-1.
  5. ^ "'The Mandalorian' has an 'Office Space' Easter egg in new episode".
  6. ^ "'The Mandalorian' Chapter 15 Files Away an 'Office Space' Easter Egg". Movieweb. December 11, 2020.

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