If you’re looking to improve the efficiency and productivity of your test case writing, here are some key points that can help:
In order to write high-quality test cases, testers should prepare themselves professionally and psychologically. This includes being aware of the essential aspects required for successful software testing in the IT industry. These factors should be considered as “Inputs” before starting the test case writing process.
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Additionally, it’s important to understand the quality metrics involved in the project. These metrics are used to evaluate the tester’s performance in various phases of the testing life cycle. Consider these metrics as “Outputs” after completing the test case writing process.
Lastly, testers should be familiar with bug reporting procedures, issue escalation, and preparation of test reports according to standard procedures. These reports should be easily understandable by project stakeholders.
What You Will Learn:
Preparing for Test Case Writing
1) Test case writing should be considered an art rather than just a job or task. It’s crucial to understand that a piece of software is only useful if it is thoroughly tested for all scenarios with an efficient test approach. Therefore, treat yourself as an important contributor to the project and prioritize your testing activity.
2) Approach test case writing with a positive attitude and passion. These personal qualities are essential throughout the project life cycle. Passion motivates team building, while a positive attitude enhances productivity in writing quality test cases. Successful test writing requires a combination of professional and personal qualities.
3) Include both positive and negative test cases in your test case writing. However, it is important to have a semi-positive mindset to uncover bugs and break the application under test. This mindset is not negative but rather a proactive approach to avoid post-release issues or system failures caused by users.
4). Judge a tester’s efficiency based on their ability to write successful test cases that lead to the discovery of defects, rather than solely on the number of bugs identified in the system. Test cases should be written in a way that maximizes coverage and traceability based on the system boundary and scope.
5) Thoroughly understand the application domain. Testing a simple website is easier compared to testing a complex financial software used in stock exchanges by thousands of people simultaneously. The understanding of financial terms and functionalities may require specific educational background, training, or domain experience. Assess your eligibility and capabilities before starting a new project to avoid future misconceptions and ensure efficient performance.
When facing tough functional requirements, communicate them to the project team in advance to receive the necessary support, such as plans and training, to avoid any negative impact on your efficiency and performance. Project and test managers can handle such situations effectively.
6) Be prepared to perform any type of testing required by the project. Don’t limit yourself to specific skills or specialties. Embrace responsibilities and challenges associated with writing and executing test cases for various testing types. For example, be open to learning performance testing or load testing techniques, even if you primarily focus on manual or automation testing. Expand your capabilities to grow in your career.
Many testers tend to identify themselves as only manual or automation testers. However, when it comes to performance testing, load testing, or stress testing, only a few testers are equipped with the necessary skills or knowledge. Therefore, be a quick learner and proactively seek opportunities for training and acquiring new skills.
7) Understand the different types of testing required for the application under test (AUT) and the skills needed to perform them. For instance, some projects may require black-box testing, while others may require white-box testing skills. Knowledge of scripting, SQL, or mark-up languages like HTML/XML may also be necessary. Get the required training or self-study materials to meet these project-specific requirements.
8) Ensure that your test cases cover performance testing, security testing, and regression testing. For example, if you need to test the login functionality of an application, performance testing ensures stability when thousands of users are logging in simultaneously, security testing verifies that only authorized users have proper access rights, and regression testing checks if core functionalities work correctly in every release.
9) Test Case Review: Pay attention to the review phase, which is often overlooked in the software development and testing life cycle. Conduct thorough reviews at each stage of project development to ensure quality deliverables. Before starting test case writing, review the requirements specification document and address all review comments. Follow the appropriate review process, including self-review, peer review, and review by other stakeholders, to ensure completeness, test coverage, traceability, and overall testability of the test cases.
10) Understand how to estimate and plan testing tasks. Stick to the scheduled estimated time for your daily work by starting and completing tasks on time. Plan for each day’s tasks before leaving work, rather than staying late or working on weekends. Modern project management approaches, such as Agile, provide efficient frameworks for project execution. If milestones are not met, focus on improving project management rather than blaming the project team for inefficiency.
Note: Even for automated testing, ensure that your test cases are clearly defined and reviewed at least once. Automated testing tools can successfully record and execute test cases when manual test cases are well-defined and written.
Understanding Quality Metrics
Quality metrics play a vital role in software testing phases. Testing teams should have a thorough understanding of the various metrics used to achieve project goals. The tester’s performance should be evaluated based on these metrics, which encompass all aspects of testing, from requirement analysis and test case writing to execution, defect reporting, and test reporting.
Here are a few important test metrics commonly used to improve tester productivity:
1) Average Testing Efficiency:
- Measure bugs per man-month of testing effort.
- Calculated as the average of total bugs identified during testing effort in man-months.
- Calculate after every internal release and after test completion.
- Acceptance Limit: Should be less than 50.
2) Average Customer Defect Density:
- Measure bugs reported by the client after delivery relative to total testing efforts in man-months.
- Calculated as the average of total bugs after delivery in man-months.
- Calculate after external release and project completion.
- Acceptance Limit: Should be less than 1.
3) Functional Test Failures:
- Total number of failed functional test cases divided by the total number of executed functional test cases.
- Calculate monthly or fortnightly.
4) Bugs with Severity Level 1:
- Total number of bugs identified with severity level 1 (blocker).
- Indicates issues that prevent testing from continuing.
- Calculate on a weekly basis.
5) Bugs with Severity Level 2:
- Total number of bugs identified with severity level 2 (major bugs).
- Indicates issues that prevent testing of specific features but allow testing of other parts of the system.
- Calculate on a weekly basis.
6) Bugs with Severity Level 3:
- Total number of bugs identified with severity level 3 (minor bugs).
- Indicates issues that don’t hinder testing and allow testing to continue.
- Calculate on a weekly basis.
7) Bugs with Severity Level 4:
- Total number of bugs identified with severity level 4 (cosmetic issues).
- Indicates cosmetic-related issues that don’t affect testing and can be fixed in future releases.
- Calculate on a weekly basis.
Bug reporting should be controlled using a mature test process to maintain application quality. Establish a proper escalation process to notify authorized individuals about bug status, severity, and priority. Numerous free and commercial bug reporting tools, such as Bugzilla and Mantis, are available for effective issue tracking and integration with test management tools.
In each testing project, standard procedures must be followed for online status reporting on a daily basis. Whenever a bug or issue is reported in the bug tracking system, an email notification should be sent to the relevant authorities, enabling them to plan and take appropriate action in a timely manner.
If you want to learn more about bug reporting, check out these helpful articles:
=> How to write a good bug report? Tips and Tricks
=> Sample bug report
=> Why Bug Reporting is an Art That Should Be Learned by Every Tester?
=> Bug life cycle
=> Sample bug reports for web and product applications
In addition to bug reports, test reports are crucial documents for understanding the testing status and important metrics. These reports capture and present crucial information collected throughout the testing phase.
Here is an example of a simple test report:
For more information on effective test reporting, consider reading these useful tutorials:
Preparing for test case writing involves more than just resource allocation. Consider the key requirements, including personal and professional preparations for efficient test case writing. Understand the quality metrics monitored throughout the testing life cycle and even after release.
By following the defined processes, standards, and procedures, and embracing a passion for testing, you can achieve great testing efficiency, productivity, and become a quality tester. Make these quality factors part of your daily habits.
Self-analysis or group analysis can be done through asking yourself questions to ensure you are on the right track for self-improvement and process enhancement. Consider questions such as:
- Have you thoroughly reviewed the functional requirements, user requirements, or business use case documents?
- Has the requirements specification document been properly reviewed and updated?
- Do you have screen prototypes for all the features to be tested?
- Can you write test cases that are testable and traceable throughout the testing life cycle?
- Do you possess the required skills and domain knowledge for testing the application under test?
- Do you need any training or additional technical knowledge for executing the test cases?
- Do you have a schedule for writing, reviewing, and executing test cases that includes time for preparing quality documents?
- Do you have peers who can review your test cases and subject matter experts who can ensure completeness, coverage, and testability of the features to be tested?
- Do you have sufficient test cases to cover all functional requirements?
- Do you have enough test cases for performance, load testing, and security testing?
- Do you have enough test cases for installation and regression testing?
- Do you have a point of contact for escalating issues or reporting bugs?
- Is the bug tracking tool properly configured with sufficient permissions?
- Are you following all the defined processes in the test plan?
- Are you actively involved in review meetings and communication with the development or management team?
- Have you seen improvements in your productivity and efficiency? Do you need to take any measures for further improvement?
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As a tester, it’s important to ask yourself these or similar questions for self-analysis and continuous improvement. Adapt these habits to become an effective and efficient tester in pursuit of achieving an artful approach to test case writing and execution.