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Decoding Test Cases: Your Guide to Software Testing

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Posted On: 5 August 2023

As customer expectations surge, it's not just the integration of new-age features that makes software applications stand apart. It's how these features perform, the user experience they enable, and more. For software applications to meet required quality standards and align with customer expectations, they must follow a streamlined approach to testing.

In essence, rigorous and continuous testing is the only way teams can ensure that the applications they deliver to customers are high quality. This makes the process of writing test cases extremely crucial.

What Is a Test Case?

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TechTarget defines a test case as "a set of actions performed on a system to determine if it satisfies software requirements and functions correctly."

By verifying different features and functionalities of the software under development, a test case confirms if the system satisfies required standards, guidelines, and customer requirements.

Typically built by a QA team, a test case also acts as a step-by-step guide that helps reveal errors or defects within the system. When combined with other test cases, it forms a comprehensive test suite and comprises steps and preconditions that testers have to evaluate and verify for optimum software performance.

What Are the Different Types of Test Cases?

Test cases help test different aspects of any software. These may include:

  • Functionality tests that check how the software being tested functions
  • Usability tests that verify how users will interact with the application
  • Performance tests that help validate overall effectiveness and response times
  • Security tests that check if the software complies with various guidelines and adequately protects user data
  • Integration tests that verify if the software integrates and interacts well with other applications in the ecosystem

Why Are Test Cases So Important?

Test cases define the steps testers need to follow across the testing lifecycle. They allow them to unearth challenges and gaps and ensure these are overcome before releasing the software to customers.

When well-written, test cases help different testers save upfront time and effort down the road, guarantee software quality, and bring products into the market quickly and efficiently.

Furthermore, by including all necessary details, test cases help measure functionality across a range of different actions and conditions and verify the result. In today's dynamic era, test cases help:

  • Define the types of testing testers need to do, the inputs they have to give, and the outcomes they can expect
  • Guide testing teams through a sequence of steps and confirm if the software application is free of bugs and is working as required
  • Discover overlooked bugs and issues that might have occurred during the development phase or missed in earlier testing
  • Guarantee comprehensive test coverage while reducing software maintenance and support costs
  • Ensure reusability, allowing testing teams to reduce the time and effort devoted to testing
  • Confirm software performance and functionality and ensure alignment with end-user requirements
  • Maintain the quality, security, availability, and scalability of software and boost customer satisfaction

How Are Test Cases Different from Test Scenarios?

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The right test cases can assure software quality and customer satisfaction, which is why sufficient time must be spent writing them. Owing to the fact that good quality software improves customer satisfaction and retention, the more reliable the test cases, the better the software's performance. However, test cases are often confused with test scenarios.

Let’s look at how the two differ:

  • A test case states the set of actions that teams need to execute to verify a particular feature or functionality. On the other hand, a test scenario mentions the functionality that needs testing.
  • A test case specifies the steps testers must take to test data and preconditions. Contrarily, a test scenario refers to a collective set of test cases that state the different characteristics of the system under the test.
  • While test cases include specific variables or conditions, test scenarios provide a high-level idea of what teams need to test.
  • Test cases are usually derived from a test scenario, while test scenarios are derived from documents like the SRS.

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What Are Some Best Practices for Writing Test Cases in Software Testing?

Writing the right test cases is critical to ensuring that the software under development meets business and customer requirements. Learning how to write different test cases for different software applications and test scenarios requires basic writing skills, strong attention to detail, and a deep understanding of the application under test.

To that end, let’s look at some best practices for writing test cases in software testing:

  • Always use a strong title for your test case. This helps other team members understand what the test case is for just by looking at the name.
  • Along with a strong title, it is advisable to include a strong description of what aspects of the software you are going to test – including the test environment, test data, challenges, and outcomes.
  • Keep test cases simple and uncomplicated, and easy for other people to understand and perform the test at hand.
  • Make sure always to specify assumptions and preconditions that apply to the test case and ensure they are met before the testing process.
  • Clearly state the different dependencies and mention special setup requirements that testers need to check.
  • Group related test cases into a larger test suite to improve the planning and execution of larger test scenarios.
  • Ensure the test case you write is reusable and adds long-term value to the testing process. This can help other testers save time and effort in building a new test case from scratch.
  • Make sure to include the expected test result for every test case you build so it is easy for teams to determine if the software passed or failed the test.

What Is the Ideal Test Case Template?

Test cases minimize testing time and effort; therefore, testers should rely on a modern test case template instead of documented test cases using ad-hoc documents and Excel sheets.

A test case template helps group test cases easily by test types, deliver accurate test metrics, and seamlessly scale as the volume of tests increases.

Summing Up

"How to write test cases" might not seem vital to software development testing. However, in today's era, where software applications need to be constantly tested for quality and functionality, it is crucial to take the time to understand what test cases are and how best to write them.

By offering a crystal-clear view of the set of steps to follow and a clear definition of what's under testing, test cases:

  • Guide teams in the right direction
  • Improve their efficiency, and
  • Assist in easily meeting software development goals.

ACCELQ offers a modern, next-gen test management platform called ACCELQ Manual that has been specifically designed for Agile teams. As the only platform with manual and automation testing under the same hood, ACCELQ Manual delivers all the capabilities teams need to enable effective testing and test management.

This manual test designer with the power of automation paves the way for fluid test creation as well as AI-based Test Management with a holistic view of the QA progress. Leveraging the power of parameterization and automated test case generation for data-driven testing, ACCELQ Manual enables easy asset sharing & version control along with automated migration from traditional test management tools.

Create and expand automated, data-driven test cases with ACCELQ Manual today and boost software quality and customer satisfaction.

Nishan Joseph

VP Sales Engineering


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