A TPS report is a document used in software engineering, in particular by a Software Quality Assurance group or individual, 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.'
TPS can also stand for Test Program Set. This is the term used by the United States military and its industrial contractors for hardware and software automatic testing systems.
TPS can also stand for "Transactions Per Second"; used to measure database speed or the number of transactions a financial computer system handles. (Initech was updating banking/credit union software for Y2K, performance measurements could be a normal part of software regression testing)
"TPS report" became a term to describe any mindless paperwork after its use in the comedy film Office Space, which followed three software engineers who were fed up with their jobs. The main character is reminded several times by several different people that he had forgotten to put the new cover sheet on his TPS report, which is now standard practice according to a recent memo. The explanation that "we're putting new cover sheets on all of our TPS reports now before they go out" is usually followed by "did you get that memo?"
In the popular context, "TPS" has become a backronym for "Totally Pointless Stuff", "Total Piece of ****," "This Place Sucks", "Totally Pointless ****", "This Project Sucks" or "The Paper Shredder".
TPS Reports were referenced in:
In the movie Office Space.
In the movie Fight Club.
the TV show Lost - Season 1 Episode 4 - Walkabout (Lost)
an episode (S08E21) of King of the Hill.
in a "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" commercial.
"TPS forms" on a calendar in the CSI episode "Fur and Loathing," while depicting the date of "PafCon," a fictional furry fandom convention.
in the PC game Counter-Strike:Source on the map cs office as a small easter egg
in the PC game Far Cry, where two guards can be overheard discussing the memo regarding TPS report covers
in the PC game, F.E.A.R., on desks and noticeboards (along with other references to the film Office Space)
two guards can be heard discussing TPS reports in the game Enter the Matrix
an item in Anarchy Online called a "T.P.S." includes a description indicating that "the report that would explain the uses of the item was rejected due to an incorrect and outdated cover sheet."
in City of Heroes, Automaton Office Workers are constantly rambling about their TPS reports.
Dell printed a blurb about remembering the TPS reports on the screen of one of their PDA boxes.
The installer for Red Hat Linux 9 displays photos of various fortune cookie messages, including "OpenOffice.org Writer: For all your TPS reports.".
Telus Mobility radio ads in Canada also mentions TPS reports.
The intercom system in SiNTec's headquarters mentions TPS reports in SiN Episodes: Emergence