Writing test cases is important in assisting testers determine whether software applications are devoid of bugs and capable of optimal performance.

With a well-written test case, you can reduce bottlenecks in the software deployment lifecycle and boost the quality of developed software.

Typically, a test case is a document containing some conditions to be conducted on a piece of software to determine whether it operates as expected.

Here are five simple steps on how to write outstanding test cases:

  1. Consider the Needs of the End User
  2. Include the Necessary Fields
  3. Keep to the Elements of an Excellent Test Case
  4. Review Created Cases
  5. Keep Test Cases Maintainable

To assist you to become confident in writing elaborate test cases, here are all the five steps explained in more detail.

Step 1: Consider the Needs of the End User

Before starting to create a test case, you need to understand the purpose of the testing as well as the needs of the end user. If you design a test case without keeping in mind the requirements of the end user, the application could offer a bad user experience.

Putting yourself in the user’s shoes will ensure you cover all the vital details and assist you to develop higher quality applications.

Step 2: Include the Necessary Fields

You can create a test case using an Excel sheet or a third-party tool. Regardless of the tool, you use for creating the document, here are some necessary fields you need to include (note that specific fields may differ from project to project):

  • Test Case ID: Include a unique number for identifying the test case.
  • Purpose: Include a short sentence describing exactly what is being tested.
  • Prerequisite: Include some conditions that should be met before the test is executed. For example, the user should have a registered account.
  • Test Data: Include a list of variables as well as the corresponding values to be verified. For example, username = {valid, invalid, empty}.
  • Test Steps: Include a comprehensive and clear step-by-step process for undertaking the test.
  • Expected Results: Include the anticipated outcome after carrying out the testing process.
  • Actual Results: It refers to the actual results got after completing the testing.
  • Status: It refers to the status of the testing process. For example, “Pass” (if testing works) or “Fail” (if testing fails to work).
  • Comments: Here, the tester can include any extra information such as screenshots and details of the malfunctions experienced.

Click here for a sample of a test case format.

Step 3: Keep to the Elements of an Excellent Test Case

Being conversant with the elements that make an excellent test case will assist you to create an effective and resourceful test case.

Here are some crucial elements.

  • Concision: The test case should not be redundant and disorganized. The software reviewer should find it to be easily understandable, readable, and to-the-point. Ensure you describe the steps to be followed using action words, such as “click x” and “enter y”.
  • Independence: The test case you create should have the capability of being executed in any order, without relying on external test cases.
  • Repetition: The created test case should be able to generate similar results each time, regardless of the individual performing the testing.
  • Reusability: The test case you create should have the capability of being re-used in the future for other projects or purposes, if necessary. Therefore, it’s good to name your test cases in a manner that they can be easily identified and referenced in future.
  • Traceability: Each test case should be traceable and linked to the stipulated requirements. This way, it ensures every requirement is tested.

Step 4: Review Created Cases

After writing your test case for a scenario, don’t sit there thinking your job is over! Review everything to uncover any missing details and ensure the test case comprehensively addresses the scenario.

Are the steps clear and easily understandable? Do the anticipated outcomes match the outlined steps? Will the test case be simple to execute and reuse?

Importantly, you should review the test case as a tester, and not as a writer. You may also request for help from peer testers, developers, and other stakeholders.

Step 5: Keep Test Cases Maintainable

Lastly, you need to create test cases in a manner that they are easy to maintain and update. You may be required to make some adjustments to the written test cases based on certain constraints, such as software changes, specific end-user preferences, etc. Therefore, your written test case should be easy to modify in case some improvements are required to be incorporated.

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About Cynthia Lopez

Cynthia is the managing editor and a frequent contributor at Watchdog Reviews. She's been writing about tech-focused topics and trends since 2014.

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