TEST PROGRAM SET
According to director Mike Judge, TPS reports stand for Test Program Set in the movie.
I guess I can settle this once and for all," Mike Judge, the movie's
writer and director, said of the dreaded report his protagonist, Peter
Gibbons, failed to attach a cover sheet to, despite his eight bosses'
memo to do so. "When I was an engineer, it stood for Test Program Set.
Isn't that exciting?"
In popular culture, TPS Reports are defined as mindless paperwork in an office environment:
After its use in the comedic 1999 film Office Space, "TPS report" has
come to connote pointless, mindless paperwork, 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". According to the film's
writer and director Mike Judge, the abbreviation stood for "Test
Program Set" in the movie. In the movie, multiple managers and
coworkers inquire about a single error that Peter Gibbons makes in
utilizing a wrong cover sheet to send his TPS reports. It is used by
Gibbons as an example that he has eight different persons he directly
There is also a definition in the urban dictionary regarding TPS reports defining them as Total Pointless Stuff (among other things).