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6 Tips for Better Test Case Management

by René Ceelen, on October 29, 2020


The race to excel in any software testing project is a marathon, not a sprint. The road ahead can only be navigated with next-level test management tools that cover all facets—creating test cases, defining requirements and risks, planning test runs, analyzing test results, managing related issues, and test design. 

A vital piece of this puzzle is test case management. The concept is simple: A test case is a collection of test instructions that have binary outcomes either the test passes or fails in terms of its stated outcome. For example, if the test requires an accounting function automatically opens a file - a test case will reveal whether or not this function works. Test cases fuel the next actions in the process which, in turn, keep the results focused. Test cases are brutally honest—they tell either the tale of a well-designed test process or the horror story of nasty defects and errors.

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Although the concept may be simple, test case management requires a precise roadmap. It can be easy to confuse a test case with a test run.  A test run is like a railway system, determining which test cases (the trains) travel to specific users at specific times. Like a railway, there may be bumpy areas with broken tracks or dangerous intersections—test cases written vaguely with confusing or inadequate instructions, for example. These challenges must be addressed during the design phase.

If a test case is the train, then there must be tactics and tips to help the train run more smoothly and arrive at the destination in an efficient manner that makes all passengers (the users) and the conductor (the testing team) satisfied with the journey. 

By adhering to test case management best practices, you’ll ensure the “testing train” pulls into the right station on time.  

Tip 1: Post-Test Case Design Instructions 

Testers are people. That statement may win the award for “Most Obvious,” but test case management is built on the foundational idea that human testers come from all walks of life: accountants, software customers, upper management hailing from the sandy beaches of California to the streets of Paris.

Test cases must be designed to meet the tester where they are, ensuring test steps and instructions are concise and descriptive. In short, testers need a bit of handholding through a process that can be filled with confusing (to them) jargon.

The goal is to shepherd the tester from instructions to completion. This may require designing multiple test steps to guide them toward the endgame of the test case.

Tip 2: Managing Test Case Details

“Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci

Few things can crash your test case management plan quicker than neglecting the details.

For example, case names matter. Like children, you should give test cases a normal, non-crazy name to make life easier.

Test case names must connect to reusable objects and maintain consistency across the process. Other details revolve around organizing preconditions, attachments, and test data within the input stage.

Make sure test cases highlight the predefined, expected result. The user and team should know what to expect upon completion.

Run your test cases through a brutal editing and revising process: Are the test steps and instructions concise and descriptive? Another important detail is the creation of a central repository to create additional test cases.

Determine if the test case accurately reflects real-world conditions. And, perhaps one of the most important details: Allow users to add comments, attachments (screenshots), and employ other methods of actionable feedback. Give users multiple opportunities to communicate their experience.

How do we ensure details do not fall through the cracks? By employing superior test case management tools that are part of a comprehensive UAT toolkit. 

A detail-facing tool will:

  • Provide test case properties, including name and duration.
  • Display preconditions, the expected result, and test data (if defined).
  • Deliver concise test case instructions (if defined).
  • Present test case results, if available.
  • Show all related requirements and risks.
  • Highlight applications related to the test case, if available.

Tip 3: Maximize Filter Options 

Premium test case management tools avoid drowning your team in a sea of unclassified, raw data. Filtering empowers the project team such that defined risks can be informed via dynamic filtering capability.

Powerful filtering enhances the analysis of test cases, test runs, test results, and other issues based on your defined risks. A test case design that lacks powerful filter options can scuttle the entire project by creating an environment of chaotic communication.

Filters provide instant, actionable insights that integrate test cases with the whole of the process. Test cases may be filtered according to a variety of criteria (for example, whether or not they are applicable for a particular profile or optional feature).

Tip 4: Log All Test Case Activities

Organization is vital when dealing with test cases. In most industries, maintaining an accurate, succinct, understandable logging system keeps the test case train on the rails, noting any issues and helpful observations along the journey.  

By having access to a detailed log, your team can quickly identify where the test case design may have flown off the rails, making correction a breeze.

Tip 5: Track Test Cases

Ask any medical or fitness expert: What’s the most effective way to lose weight or reach a fitness goal? They will consistently say the same thing: “Track your progress.” Write down every calorie consumed and every mile run. By doing so, you can look back and note what works and what does not. Eating an entire pie before bedtime … might be a roadblock.

For test cases, the need for proper tracking cannot be overstated. Your test case management tool must empower your team to view properties, comments, and a full audit trail. A test case tool like that allows quality managers to maintain a clear overview of all outstanding issues, statuses, and the quality of testing and retesting. The QA manager can scrutinize all changes with an extensive audit trail.

Tip 6: Deploy Superior Test Reporting 

A gorgeously elegant test case design is useless if the action and data generated from it can’t produce actionable insights. Test case reports must track team-wide workloads with instant status and progress reports. In addition, the reporting function will allow the team to view traceability, progress, and coverage reports. Test case reports should give key insights into the process, including strengths, weaknesses, and growth areas.

TestMonitor: The Pinnacle of Test Case Success

Beyond offering world-class test case management tools, TestMonitor offers a one-stop testing approach incorporating every key step of the process. TestMonitor does it all, so your team can focus on specific details within each test case, as well as monitor results over time for improvement, stability, or decline. 

Beyond test case management, TestMonitor offers every feature you’ll need to ensure testing success: creating test cases, defining requirements and risks, planning test runs, analyzing test results, managing related issues, and test design

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