Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Two words making me cringe these days

Lately, two words have been making me cringe.  I am not 100% sure why I am having such a negative response to these two words.

Ready - Test Plan and Test Cases

With respect to the term test plan, my memory conjures up a negative image of lengthy Rational Unified Process documents.  In my mind, I have started replacing the term test plan with the term test strategy.  I outline my test ideas in a mind map.  Using a mind map is fast, flexible, and easily communicated.  I share my test strategy in a mind map.

If I reflect in a neutral way, I conclude that test plan and test strategy are interchangeable.

I think the term test cases causes me to cringe because they were part of the RUP test plan documentation. The term test case conjures up the negative image of scripted tests.  Following a detailed set of steps never seemed productive for me on my mission to find bugs.  I followed this practice early in my career, but it does not make sense to me today.  Mentally I have substituted the term test ideas to replace test cases.

The words themselves are fine.  I need to make sure I articulate my definition when they terms are used in conversation.

Anyone else of a POV to expand upon or refute my negative taste for these terms?


Danny said...

I agree! Besides the process-heavy connotations, also note that the default definitions of these terms that people have in mind varies so widely that the terms aren't very useful without a lot of explanation.

Debi Evans said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the proposed terms. The current verbiage, “testing plan” and “test cases” sounds to concrete, too final -- a set of instructions that the tester must follow. There is no incentive in the words to do anything other than comply. And they don’t express the “organic” nature of testing.
In contrast, the terms “test strategy” and “test ideas” invite the tester into the process as a creative participant. Strategy implies a reality of testing – that it is a process, which is constantly influenced by new discoveries and techniques and is able to evolve as the testing progresses. Ideas reach out to the tester, nudging him/her to think independently. Both strategy and ideas belong to the person who has them. As such, they empower and, if your heart is in the game, inspire greater results.