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On a recent engagement, I was asked to write test cases however I felt I had a better way. I asked why? The manager of testing said “so that someone else can execute them if needed’. Is this sufficient reason for them? They weren’t to help ‘me’ test.
I am sure you already know this. Today’s tester has a lot to do to accomplish their objectives for a given project, and must be able to adapt. One component of their role is the creation of tests. This presentation has been drafted to ask 3 questions of commonly held beliefs which may help us consider what decisions to make, question or influence, when creating these tests.
Here is our first question to consider. Can testing be done without what we commonly refer to as test cases? Remember that it may seem that “Testing without Test Cases is like a car without an engine”. However, there is more than 1 way to build a car.
We can demonstrate that the test cases we ran at that time did not identify any more defects. We cannot however prove the lack of existence of defects. We should set our minds to examine the system sufficiently to maximise our processes to raise the defects that matter.
Recent example – tester said ‘couldn’t write tests as didn’t have detailed requirements’
For a given engagement, we should ask ourselves the question: Should I use scripted test cases or exploratory testing?
Test objects are only a part of what is needed in a tester’s toolkit How to find the best solution? How can you make the best judgement?
Commonly Held Beliefs about Test Cases v1.0
Commonly Held Beliefs about
• Open up your mind
• Examine different approaches
• Achieve better testing results
• Satisfy our customers
.. Of Range of Quality
Step 2. Written
Step 1. Thought of
Step 3. Executed
make ship / no-
Learn how the
Can testing only be done with test cases?
It is common practice to write down detailed steps and then execute them
We can use structured approach for review and re-use
Can achieve testing goals with exploratory testing as well as checks
The Business wants to know that the bugs that matter to them are are addressed or
identified, not that you had test cases
We should select the best approach for testing in our context
Will I find all defects with test cases?
I have detailed expected results to check against system
Designs have re-inforced how the system should / should not behave
The executed test cases may only enable finding defects by ‘checking’
The test case could be wrong, out of date or miss some key areas
We should use our minds to experiment and check in a controlled way
Will my test cases achieve 100% coverage?
We can write appropriate test cases to cover all requirements based on priority
We can report on metrics for this
The world is not perfect and requirements may not be as well
The tester needs to find undocumented requirements by questioning
We should plan testing based on quality not quantity of information