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Guidelines for Writing Effective Test Cases

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Best Practices for Writting Test Cases | TestQuality
Writing effective test cases is one of the most critical tasks that each QA Engineer or Tester must do within the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC). Test cases are the foundation of every software product analysis. Writing successful test cases, on the other hand, is a method that can be learnt by in-depth application research, which involves building test cases and, most crucially, experience.

The method for building successful test cases will be to identify, define, and analyze requirements.
In this post, We will provide some pointers for building successful test cases. However, before we get into the techniques for designing excellent test cases, let us first discuss the significance of test cases.

What exactly is a test case?

A Test Case is a collection of conditions used to assess a software product's compliance with business requirements. A badly written test case can lead to considerable vulnerability leaking. This may be costly in terms of both time and money. As a result, competent test case writing is vital to the success of any software project.

Basic terms used while writing a Test Case

Below are the basic terminologies used for defining a test case.
Test Case ID  .... Case_100, TC_
Test Case Description ..... Description of the test case
Type (Positive / Negative) ..... Positive test case / negative test case
Scenario ..... which scenario is this case being tested for
Test Data ..... What required information was used for this test case?
Pre – Condition ..... Condition before executing this test case,
Action / Steps for execution for this test case
Steps for executing this test case
Expected Result .... The expected result can be stated here based on the considerations described above.
Actual Result .... This will be completed during the test case's execution.
Comments ..... Any type of finding will be made here.

Best Tips for Writing Effective Test Cases

Simple to perform test cases are thought to be effective test cases. They accelerate the testing process by saving time and effort. Following these 17 guidelines will assist us in achieving our aim.

1. Follow the intent and requirements

Determine the scope and objective of the testing. Previously, I would make assumptions about how a test case's intended functionality should be. I learnt the hard way that creating a deep grasp of the SRS (Software Requirement Specification) document is always preferable. I've seen people become more intuitive rather than rational, and this intuition may sometimes lead to assumptions.

An assumption of features and functionalities while designing down test cases might frequently diverge you from the genuine requirements that the customer initially needed. This will have an impact on the product under testing as well as the client-organization relationship.

2. Be specific when setting down the procedures for implementation.

The processes for designing successful test cases should be precise and to the point so that even a novice tester can easily perform them. The purpose and scope of test cases should be expressed explicitly in the test case. The test cases should speak for themselves. All required test data and particular actions should be provided in the test case itself. The test cases should be reviewed by peers.

It is usually great practice to avoid composite phrases when specifying Test Steps for the execution of test cases. Instead, as a walkthrough of the test case, develop a concise and detailed step-by-step tutorial. Always remember that a good test case should be self-explanatory. It is critical to write the stages as precisely as possible.

TestQuality also enables testing on different configurations in a test run. Here's how you can use the TestQuality Test Management suite case to manage different types of tests.

3. Provide concise descriptions.

A test case description is essential for communicating the fundamental cause of the issue, and it should always include the steps to recreate. When I first began my testing career, I was unaware of the fine line between giving exact information and writing ornately. In the field, I used to develop stories for test case descriptions. I felt it would be remarkable to fill in as much of the description as possible.

But I was mistaken! Not only did it waste my time, but it also wasted the developer's! I understood how critical it is to make the explanation concise, straightforward, and informative. Nobody enjoys reading long tales. Simply stay on topic.

Writing effective test cases should include just necessary and valid steps. If a single test case has too many test steps to complete, the test case's focus and aim may be lost. As a result, rather of attempting to cover numerous predicted results, each test case should just cover one. Include the test case id in the precondition step if the same activities are required to execute the test cases.

4. Be precise in your intent

Intentions are crucial. We rarely operate as humans without a strategy for how we want things to come out! Understanding the acceptance criteria is critical for developing successful test cases. Acceptance criteria are conditions that ensure that the program works as intended for the end user.

Remember that acceptance criteria are meant to assist you assess the end-purpose user's rather than the steps. Instead of "an administrator should visit the team page under organization settings, and click on invite to add members to the team or click on remove to throw people out," say "an administrator should be able to invite or kick people out of the team working on the same project under an organization."

5. Focus in User Personas

An user persona is a fictitious portrayal of an end-user that aids in describing how people in various job roles might interact with your program. If you're unfamiliar with User Personas, you may be asking why you need a fictional persona to assist you in writing successful test cases.

I used to believe that identifying the user's scope was unnecessary until I saw how important it may be. Let's look at Emily as an example to better grasp this. Emily, a website developer, accesses TestQuality, a Test Management testing tool. As a result, he could  manage different usability test how his website's or web application's web parts render across different configurations.

Create multiple User Personas, each reflecting a community of your targeted audience and their occupation, and focus on examples that will cover corresponding characteristics for building successful test cases.

6. Put yourself in the customer's shoes.

Create a test case from the end-point user's of view. It is a regular scenario for an irate consumer to call customer service and complain that the program is not delivering an expected function to his satisfaction.

As a software tester, you should be able to relate to the client in order to convey the problem to your development team from the customer's point of view. "Customers are always correct," my supervisor used to say all the time.

Keep customer or end-user needs in mind while developing test scenarios, because the software or product produced is ultimately for the customer. Keep track of usability and accessibility testing.

7. Keep an eye out for product upgrades.

The Software Requirement Specification must be strictly followed (SRS). It is not necessary to use SRS if the program version is out of date. Nobody wants to put a deprecated feature to the test.

We live in a world driven by Agile practices, where product development moves at breakneck speed. To deal with short time frames or after releasing an urgent issue patch, the Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document is sometimes left unattended. For big and small changes, it is advisable to update the SRS.

8. Take charge of your test cases.

I've seen how test cases are juggled around a group of software testers working on a huge project without sufficient ownership. In such instances, test cases should be dispersed correctly. Every software tester should be responsible exclusively for the test cases that have been assigned to him.

My concept of "product ownership" spans a product's complete lifespan. After executing a test case, software testers should watch how it performs in the hands of users with each update. Examine performance statistics and offer proactive suggestions to your team for improving the user experience.

9. Make active use of a test case management solution.

Tools for managing test cases are thought vital for maintaining a reliable release cycle. They contribute to a degree of transparency in which everyone is aware of who is working on what. They may also be used to track deadlines for bug fixes, among other things.

Employees, on the other hand, frequently fail to use these tools actively and efficiently. You must understand how to utilize your particular test case management solution in order to write effective test cases.

Spreadsheets can help a small team manage test cases. They may quickly become a huge burden as your team grows and you develop on your software. Other applications, such as JIRA, can be configured to handle test cases, but they lack testing-specific functionality.

Another aspect of developing good test cases is keeping track of, maintaining, and automating your test cases. Eventually, you'll need to look for a dedicated test case management program.

10. Keep track of all test cases.

Test monitoring is the practice of reviewing testing activities and attempts to track current testing progress and locate and track test metrics during test execution. In addition, depending on the test metrics, predict future actions and offer feedback to the concerned team and stakeholders on the present testing process.

It is usual for two software testers to encounter a same test case while working from a remote software tester or when too many software testers are working on a similar project. As a result, monitoring all test cases is critical in developing successful test cases. Remember to delete any extraneous or duplicate test cases.

11. Go for 100% test coverage.

The glorious moment has arrived: you've created the tests, and the screen shows "100% coverage." You're happy because all of your tests passed and your code will never be faulty again. Is this, however, what 100% test coverage truly means?

You have generated enough tests to cover every line of code in your application if you have 100 percent test coverage. Nothing more, nothing less. You should be able to predict what some input will do to create some outcome if your tests are well-structured.

Test coverage is a key part in ensuring the long-term viability of any software. When developing successful test cases, it is critical to aim for 100 percent test coverage. Plan your test cases to cover each component and capability included in the SRS document.

The Traceability Matrix may be used to ensure that no functions or circumstances go untested, resulting in 100% coverage. The requirement traceability matrix is a mapping between Test Cases and requirements that will track any untested functions or circumstances.

12. Be cautious of dependent test cases

Test case dependency occurs when the behavior or outcome of one test case is reliant on the execution or result of another test case.

There have been occasions when I discovered a defect in a random setting and tried to replicate it, but things didn't go as intended. That's when I understood that even test cases may be dependent on others.

For example, you may have a test case X that will only be performed when test cases Y and Z have been completed consecutively. This circumstance is common when two modules are not mutually exclusive. As a result, unless you create a scenario after determining the dependent test cases, a defect may not reproduce.

13. Make use of Test Automation

My experience as a software tester has taught me that testing software is a demanding and never-ending procedure. Because of the emergence of progressive enhancement and the adoption of Agile approaches, regression testing has become an emergency and a nuisance for many of us.

You can assure a bug-free application by using an efficient test automation plan. According to statistics, 42 percent of businesses believe that automated testing is a crucial element of their quality assurance process. So, if you are manually testing applications, you should think about converting to automated testing.

However, the emergence of automated testing has transformed regression testing. Automation increases software tester productivity and bandwidth, allowing them to conceive of innovative methods to write successful test cases rather than being trapped with the same test cases every day.

14. Excellent test case documentation

As a software tester, you would definitely agree that generating an error-free Test Document is a challenging task. Don't just start producing test documentation because you feel like it. Before you begin the documentation process, you must first understand why generating excellent test cases is important.

The tests should always be easy and uncomplicated. They should be designed in a way that allows the tester to simply complete the testing by following the directions indicated in each test.

Here are some pointers to help you stand out from the pack when it comes to testing documentation.

  • Is your test document's structure satisfactory?
  • Remember to Address the Negative Test Cases
  • Have Short Test Procedures
  • Priorities should be assigned to tests.
  • The order is important.
  • In the paper, keep two distinct sheets: 'Bugs' and 'Summary.'

This is a fairly regular occurrence, and I am sure you have experienced it as well, where once a test case document wins client approval, the entire team becomes hooked on one document. Nobody would try to look outside the box to write effective test cases since we believe the document is all we need! As a result, it is critical to include everything in your test document.

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15. Act as the critic

To uncover the unknowns in software, you may need to use a different strategy than others. Unknowns are circumstances that the product team is unaware of until the end-user reports them.

After we've gone over all of the test cases for a scenario as testers, not as test case authors, we should go over them again. To write good test cases, you must think beyond the box, especially if you want to do exploratory testing.

16. Sort your test cases according to their importance.

The technique of sorting test cases in order of significance is known as prioritization. Prioritizing test cases helps to fulfill two primary constraints in software testing, namely time and budget, in order to enhance the problem detection rate as soon as possible.

I was sloppy, anxious, and unfamiliar with the notion of business goals when I began my job as a software tester. I used to approach test scenarios in a disorganized manner, not appreciating the importance of prioritization in test cases.

I ran out of bandwidth during one release cycle, and as the release date approached, I raced through numerous high-priority test cases. When a fault was reported by clients after the release, we committed a rollback. That was a tough lesson! I understood how important it is to prioritize the test cases concurrently while developing an effective test case.

17. Avoid making assumptions

When writing a test case, avoid making assumptions about the functionality and features of your software application. It may result in a mismatch between the client's specifications and the product, negatively impacting the business. Make no assumptions about the functionality or features of your software program while writing a test case. Follow the guidelines in the papers.

18. Positive and negative test results

Equivalence class partitioning, boundary value analysis, and normal and abnormal scenarios are some test case design methodologies that should be used while creating test cases. You should also consider negative testing, failure scenarios, and error handling, since they may assist you in locating the most likely faults in the code. Make no assumptions about functionality; instead, build test cases using the requirements specification paper as a guide.

It is an awesome task to write effective testing scenarios with all of the required details. You'll be good as long as you remember to consider the perspective of the end users, the application knows the end-to-end process, and you follow the best technique for building a test case, which I detailed in this post.

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