Test Case vs Test Plan

Test Case vs Test Plan

Test Case vs Test Plan

In Software Testing there are numerous components and documents that help testers in executing the process of testing. From creating a particular plan to resolving issues and retesting the software, the importance of these documents is immense and without them the team can encounter various issues and challenges which can impact the performance and functionality of the software under development. Test case and test plan are two important documents that play a significant role in defining as well as managing the procedure of testing and offering the team vital information regarding the testing of the software.

Hence, to define their relevance in software testing life cycle, here is a comparison of Test Case and Test Plan.

Test Case:

During the process of software testing, test case defines the preconditions for test execution and offers an insight into the various specification and requirements that are stated before the commencement of the testing. An integral part of the process, this document is used to define various important components of the software testing such as, testing inputs, execution conditions, testing procedures, and the expected results. The main purpose of this document is to help testers meet the objective of testing as well as the requirements stated before the commencement of the process.

Types of Test Case:

  1. Formal Test Case: For designing formal test cases, the team follows a standard format, which allows them to create a test case that offers ease of understanding to other members of the team and that cover all the possible tests completely. Formal test cases are further divided into two types of test cases- positive and negative, which are mainly designed to ensure that all the requirements of the application are tested properly by the team. Formal test case also offers various details about the software such as preconditions, input & output data, among other things.
  2. Informal Test Case: These test cases are mainly designed for applications and software without any formal requirement or specification. Informal test cases can be written in a manner that is considered fit by the team or by the individual responsible for creating test case. Moreover, in this type of test case the input and output are now known to the team.

Importance of Test Case:

In software testing the relevance and importance of test case is monumental. It is a vital document prepared during the early stages of software testing that specifies the inputs, execution conditions, testing procedures, etc, of a testing process. With the assistance of this document, the team can offer an insight into the testing process to other members of the team as well as the client and the concerned stakeholders. Test case allows them to establish transparency among members and improves communication within the team. Other reasons that make test case an integral part of software testing are:

  • With the assistance of test cases testers can find defects and issues in the test design, which is not covered by requirements.
  • Helps identify usability issues, as the whole process is monitored.
  • Enables the team to record the testing procedure and activities, which can be helpful in future.
  • It organizes the complete testing process.
  • Helps validate if all requirements are fulfilled or not.
  • It ensures accurate test coverage.

Details Covered by a Test Case:

A test case document offers miscellaneous information about the software testing process. From the basic requirements to the testing procedure, everything is covered in this document, which offers the team an opportunity to communicate major details about the process with other members of the team as well as the stakeholders. Other details included in this document are:

  • Test title.
  • Test scenarios.
  • Test descriptions.
  • Steps & procedure.
  • Prerequisites.
  • Actual & expected results.
  • Test environment.

Things to Consider while Writing Test Cases:

As one of the most significant document prepared during the software testing life cycle (STLC), the document for test case needs to be designed with great care and accuracy. The details or information included in it should be described in a manner that is understandable and precise. Hence, following are some factors that need consideration while preparing the test case document.

  • The customer requirements should be stated and defined clearly.
  • It should be compact, simple and understandable, yet informative.
  • Should offer details about the roles and responsibilities of the team members.
  • The document should be traceable, economical, and reusable.
  • Any critical or important information related to the expected results should be included.
  • Should assure full test coverage.

Test Plan:

Preparing a detailed plan is always helpful and advised by people all around the world. It simplifies the process and helps keep a track of the activities that are performed based on it. Similarly, test plan is a document prepared during the early stages of software testing life cycle (STLC), based on which the process of testing is executed. This document describes the scope and objective of testing along with the steps taken to achieve it. In short, test plan can be termed as the blueprint for software testing, wherein the numerous testing techniques, methodologies, tools, approaches, testing activities, etc. are defined.

Derived from the Software Requirements Specification document which is prepared by the team lead or manager, the test plan includes a detailed description of all the steps taken to meet the stated requirements of the client.

Types of Test Plan:

Test plan document is the most important and the first document published by the team before the process of testing is initiated. It defines the strategy and philosophy behind testing and is mainly created to simplify communication among team members and to monitor various activities performed during the process. Test plan document can be categorized into three types, which consist different levels of information and details and cater to different types of testing performed by the software testers. These types of test plans are:

  • Master Test Plan: This is a high level test plan that is created to plan and manage projects with multiple level of tests. This includes a summary of required resources, responsibilities, and tools & techniques, along with the required testing efforts.
  • Level Specific Test Plan: Second type of test plan is the level specific test plan, wherein the plans are prepared for each level of software testing, such as performance testing, unit testing, system testing, etc.
  • Type Specific Test Plan: Here, the plans are prepared for major types of testing which require constant observation and improvement like performance testing.

Importance of Test Plan:

Whether you are preparing for your exam or shifting to a new city, plans are always there to help us out in difficult situations and processes. Likewise, in software testing also test plan help testers in numerous ways, which make it a vital part of the whole process. Therefore, following are some reasons that increase the importance of test plans.

  • With the assistance of test plan testers can determine the efforts required to validate the effectiveness and quality of the software.
  • Testers use test plan document to communicate important features, components, and details about the software testing process with various members of the team, client, and other stakeholders of the project.
  • It guides the team and the testing process.
  • Helps the team monitor the process of testing as well as identify any deviances.
  • Allows the team to document and report various important details about the process, such as the testing activities, techniques, strategies, approaches, resources, etc.

Parameters Covered by Test Plan:

Test plan document covers a vast section of the testing process and offers great insight into it. From defining the main scope & objective of testing to offering a comparison between the expected and actual output, the test plan ensure proper coverage of the whole process. Therefore, to signify it relevance here is a list of all the elements covered by the test plan document:

  • Introduction is offered, where the extent of the testing is defined along with other important details like targeted market, assumptions, objectives, etc.
  • Test Items: Test cycle, test data, test suites, test cases, etc.
  • Features to be Tested: The various component that require testing are stated, along with the various requirements suggested by the client.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: Here, the roles and responsibilities of the team are stated.
  • Test Environment: The team defines any specific requirements related to the testing environment here, such as software, hardware, network, or any tools.
  • Deliverables: Consists of all the documents and deliverables that will be required for further development or implementation of the software. These include test cases, test scripts, test reports, defect reports, etc.
  • Risks: Finally, the potential risks are defined by the team along with the steps and ways to tackle them.
  • Defect Reporting & Mitigation Plan: Information regarding the various defects found during the process of testing is offers with proper plans to mitigate them.

How to Write a Test Plan?

To ensure proper results and to simplify the process of creating the test plan document, it is vital for the team to consider some important points, which can help the report and document necessary information accurately. These steps are:

  • Product Analysis: Before initiating the process of creating the test plan document is it vital for the responsible individual to analyze the product and its requirements, which are stated by the client.
  • Design Test Strategy: To avoid any confusion within the document as well as the process of testing, the tester should design a strategy which can assist him/her in defining the scope of testing, the efforts required to achieve it, among other things.
  • Define Test Objectives: This allows smooth functioning of the process, which further helps the team to document each and every aspect of the process properly.
  • Resource Planning:: Requirements for test environment should be stated in the test plan along with the details about the ways to set up the test environment.
  • Schedule & Estimation: The schedule of software testing and an estimation of the time required to complete it should also be included in the document.
  • Determine Test Deliverable: Finally, the various deliverables that will be produced during the process of testing should be mentioned in the document. These will be divided into three sections: before testing, during testing, and after testing.

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In software testing the importance of both test case and test plan is immense and without these two, the process of testing cannot be initiated as well as completed accurately. Serving two significant roles, these two documents are useful in defining the process of testing to various members of the team as well as the client and the stakeholders. Moreover, they elaborate various other important components related to the project, such as the targeted market, customer requirements, required resources, etc. Therefore, if the testing team wants to remove communication barriers within the team as well as with other important members and simplify the process of testing then they should prepare these two documents- test case and test plan.

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