Sunday, April 19, 2015


Last week Teslio posted on Twitter this link, "How to Become and Efficient Tester".  Here is the list of primary points.

  • Organize everything
  • Write detailed bug reports
  • Write clear test cases  
  • Take part and communicate
  • Ask yourself questions
  • Be positive.
  • Don’t test
In general I agree with these points; however, I would like to explore the third bullet point in a bit more detail.

For me the term "Test Case' has become somewhat poisonous.  It flashes me back to the days of using Rational Unified Process, RUP and Word documents full of word density.  Today I find myself trying to avoid the words "Test Case". 

Right, wrong, or otherwise I prefer Test Idea or Charter. Both of these terms come from Session Based Test Management articles I have read over the years. Unfortunately the term Test Case is probably here to stay, so let me attempt to redefine the term from my point of view.

Test Case - an idea worth an experiment

So what is needed to conduct an experiment?  We need a hypothesis (Mission).  We need some contextual idea of the variables or inputs.  We need a control (Oracle).  We may need some mental tools (heuristics). We may need some physical tools too.  Then after conducting the actions we need observations and results.

I do not believe we need a list of detailed steps as described in Willie Tran's article.  Based on our observations and results we may have to repeat the experiment, so it is important that in your results you describe your journey and decisions you made along the journey.  I encourage testers to not write a detailed list of steps, because they may cloud the experiment.

Happy Testing!

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