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Software Testing

5 Manual Test Case Writing Hacks

To be considered an excellent software tester, you have to have an eye for detail. But you can’t be truly great unless you can effectively write test cases. Writing test cases is a task that requires both talent and experience.

The purpose of writing test cases is to define how the case will be tested and what is being tested. For some testers this is considered boring or busy work. When done well, test cases become highly valuable, improve the productivity of the entire team, and help your company create higher quality software.

In this blog, we’ll will share some hacks on how to write effective test cases. First, lets review some basic test case definitions and the fields to use when creating test cases.

What is a Test Case?

In software engineering, a test case is a set of conditions under which a tester will determine whether an application, software system or one of its features is working as it was originally designed to.

What Fields Need to be Included in a Test Case?

  • Test Case ID: Unique Test Case Identification Number.
  • Purpose: A short sentence about what is being tested.
  • Prerequisite: Conditions that must be met before the test case can be run. For example, the user must be logged in.
  • Test Data: List of variables and possible values used in the test case. Examples: loginID = {Valid loginID, invalid loginID, valid email, invalid email, empty} password = {valid, invalid, empty}
  • Test Steps: Detailed steps for test case execution.
  • Expected Results: How the application should perform after executing the above testing steps.
  • Actual Results: How application actually behaved after executing the above testing steps.
  • Result: Does the test “Pass” or “Fail.”
  • Comments: This is where the tester can add additional helpful information like screenshots and descriptions to provide the developers with the information they will need to correct any defects found.

Note: This is a standard test case format. Specific fields may vary from company-to-company.

5 Helpful Hacks to Write Better Test Cases

As testing professionals, we work hard to thoroughly test applications and identify defects. It can be very frustrating when the reviewer rejects test cases and a tester must start from square one. Here are some helpful hacks that can help you write better test cases that will ultimately benefit your enterprise: 

  1. Keep it simple: No one is going to accept a test case that is overly complex and not easily understood. Test cases have to be written in simple language using the company’s template.
  2. Make it reusable:  When creating new test cases, you need to remember that the test cases will be reused. The same test case might be reused in another scenario or a test step could be reused in another test case.
  3. Be your own critic: After documenting all the test cases for a scenario, review them from a tester’s point-of-view. You should consider if these test cases are good enough to thoroughly cover the scenario. Ask yourself these questions: Are they easy to understand? Will they be easy to execute and reuse?
  4. Think about the end user: When writing test scenarios you should always keep the end user top of mind. If the software provides a bad user experience, that’s bad for business. In many companies, the most valued testers are the ones who best understand the end user and provide the developers with feedback to improve the user experience.
  5. Stay organized: Many companies manage test cases using spreadsheets. As the number of test cases grows, this can become extremely difficult and inefficient for the team.  Today, there are many software solutions that can help the testing team better organize and manage all the test cases in one place. 

Tricentis qTest is a great tool to help your team manage your tests, try our 14 day free trial.

What are some of your favorite hacks for writing better test cases? Let us know on Twitter at @Tricentis.