A test case is a set of actions performed on a system to determine if it satisfies software requirements and functions correctly. A test case aims to determine if different features within a system are performing as expected and to confirm that the system meets all related standards, guidelines, and customer requirements. Writing a test case can also help reveal errors or defects within the system.
Test cases are typically written by Quality Assurance (QA) or testing team members and can be used as step-by-step instructions for each system test. Testing begins once the development team has finished a system feature or set of features. A sequence or collection of test cases is called a test suite.
A test case document includes test steps, test data, preconditions, and post conditions that verify requirements.
Why test cases are important
Test cases define what must be done to test a system, including the steps executed, the input data values entered into the system, and the expected results throughout test case execution. Using test cases allows developers and testers to discover errors that may have occurred during development or defects missed during ad hoc test.
The benefits of a compelling test case include:
- Guaranteed good test coverage.
- Reduced maintenance and software support costs.
- Reusable test cases.
- Confirmation that the software satisfies end-user requirements.
- Improved quality of software and user experience.
- Higher quality products lead to more satisfied customers.
- More satisfied customers will increase company profits.
Overall, writing and using test cases will lead to business optimization. Clients are more satisfied, customer retention increases, the costs of customer service and fixing products decrease, and more reliable products are produced, which improves the company’s reputation and brand image.
Example of test case format
Test cases must be designed to reflect the software application features and functionality under evaluation fully. QA engineers should write test cases so only one thing is tested. When naming elements, the language used to write a test case should be simple, easy to understand, active instead of passive, and exact and consistent.
The components of a test case include:
- Test name. A title that describes the functionality or feature that the test is verifying.
- Test ID. QA engineers and testers typically use numeric or alphanumeric identifiers to group test cases into suites.
- Objective. Also called the description, this vital component describes what the test intends to verify in one to two sentences.
- References. Links to user stories, design specifications, or requirements that the test is expected to verify.
- Prerequisites. Any conditions necessary for the tester or QA engineer to perform the test.
- Test setup. This component identifies what the test case needs to run correctly, such as the app version, operation system, date and time requirements, and security specifications.
- Test steps. Detailed descriptions of the sequential actions must be taken to complete the test.
- Expected results. An outline of how the system should respond to each test step.
Before writing a test case, QA engineers and testing team members should determine the test’s scope and purpose. This includes understanding the system features and user requirements and identifying the testable needs.
Next, testers should define how the software testing activities are performed. This process starts by identifying compelling test case scenarios — or functionality that can be tested. Testers must understand the system’s functional requirements to identify test case scenarios.
The non-functional requirements must be defined once the test case scenarios have been identified. Non-function requirements include operating system, security features, and hardware requirements. Prerequisites for the test should also be pointed out.
The next step is to define the test case framework. Test cases typically analyze compatibility, functionality, fault tolerance, user interface (UI), and the performance of different elements.
Once these steps have been completed, the tester can begin writing the test case.
Test case writing best practices
A practical test case design will be:
- Accurate or specific about the purpose.
- Economical, meaning no unnecessary steps or words are used.
- Traceable, meaning requirements can be traced.
- Repeatable, the document can be used to perform the test numerous times.
- Reusable means the paper can be reused to complete the test in the future successfully.
To achieve these goals, QA and testing engineers can use the following best practices:
- Prioritize which test cases to write based on project timelines and the risk factors of the system or application.
- Create unique test cases and avoid irrelevant or duplicate test cases.
- Confirm that the test suite checks all specified requirements in the specification document.
- Write test cases that are transparent and straightforward. The title of each test case should be short.
- Test case steps should be broken into the smallest possible segments to avoid confusion when executing.
- Test cases should be written to allow others to understand them and modify the document easily when necessary.
- Keep the end user in mind whenever a test case is created.
- Do not assume the features and functionality of the system.
- Each test case should be easily identifiable.
- Descriptions should be clear and concise.
In this Software Testing Tutorial, we will learn what is a test case. A test case is a set of steps that is written to verify the functionality of the application. When a test case is executed is verifies if the functionality of application is as per the requirement that has been given by the customer.
Test case is a set of steps or the procedure that you follow to verify the particular functionality in any software application.