9 Tips for Writing and Executing Effective Test Cases
Rob Turner

Putting together test cases doesn’t need to be a chore, especially if you’ve got a set of standard ways to approach this which work well every time.

The same goes for handling test execution, so here are some useful tips to help in both scenarios which will streamline your testing from start to finish.

Make the required specification to focus

It’s important not to make assumptions about what type of functionality is intended or desirable from a given software product you’re developing. If you do, your tests might not align with the designer’s requirements or the business’ overall goals.

Instead, you must start from a point where you’ve pinpointed the specification that’s required, and the scope of the project as a whole.

Check that updates have been factored into testing

Development cycles move quickly and changes occur regularly, so be aware that product specs can shift rapidly, which means your test cases have to move with the times as well.

Don't overcomplicate things

Writing tests is about conveying clearly and concisely what steps have to be followed. If you’re overdoing it with test cases that are too complex, whether because of the wording or the steps involved, then effectiveness and repeatability will both suffer.

Use a flexible test management tool

The right test management tool is key to the efficient and coordinated execution of test cases. Modern solutions benefit from being hosted in the cloud, creating affordability and scalability simultaneously.
Good tools are also blessed with a range of integrations, so that whatever other platforms you’re reliant on, these can be harnessed seamlessly.

Consider what end users want

The whole purpose of testing is to try and weed out issues with a product that might otherwise frustrate end users if left unchecked.
As such the writing of test cases has to be done from the perspective of end users. If you struggle to make this leap, creating user personas is useful.

Write with new testers in mind

Your testing team won’t always contain the same, experienced individuals. So in order for tests to be successfully executed by newcomers, the steps have to be outlined in a way that is comprehensible and straightforward to follow.

This is where you have to balance the aforementioned need for conciseness against the importance of getting all the relevant information across. Make sure every step has adequate information to be fulfilled without the need for insider knowledge of your tools and operations.

Track test cases and pay attention to relevant metrics

When test cases are being executed in large volumes, it’s useful to look into the data that’s generated and see how this can inform your writing of cases in the future.

Think outside the box

If you’re responsible for writing test cases, then you’re in a position of knowing more about the development process than most people. You should use this to your advantage and make sure that you aren’t only thinking like a user, but are also pushing yourself to consider the more unexpected scenarios which could arise. That’s the only way to improve coverage and bolster outcomes.

Automate whatever you can

Automation is a huge help for testing in all contexts, and there are tools which provide this functionality affordably.

That said, manual methods are still needed in most cases, and so you shouldn’t skimp on your test case writing skills, but should foster them alongside your use of test automation.

Final thoughts

Flexibility is a powerful ally when writing and executing test cases, so learn from missteps and adapt as needed to make positive progress.