Use Case Risks in Test Automation

People who know me and my work probably know my emphasis on good test design for successful test automation. I have written about this in “Key Success Factors for Keyword Driven Testing“. In the Action Based Testing (ABT) method that I have pioneered over the years it is an essential element for success. However, agreeing with me in workshops and actually applying the principles in projects turns out quite often to be two different things. Apart from my own possible limitations as a teacher, I see at least one more reason: The way the testing is involved in the development projects.

A typical development project will start with a global understanding of what the system needs to do, which is then detailed out further, for example into use cases. These use cases have proven to be helpful in implementation and various testing efforts, but I’m getting more and more the impression that they may also pose a risk for good test design when they are the only source of information for the test team. There are two reasons:

1. They tend to have a high level of detail
2. They usually follow the end-user perspective

Re 1: The level of detail of use cases is primarily aimed at the developers, and the information they need to know. More often than not it is implicitly assumed that this is also a good level for information for testers to develop test cases from (for the sake of simplicity I will not discuss the usefulness of techniques like exploratory testing, I will just assume that test cases are made and their execution is automated).

Re 2: In many tests it matters how a system handles transactions, and provides the correct and complete follow up actions and information. The end-user interacting with the UI is then not always relevant, and I would not like to see it explicitly specified as part of test cases (in ABT the UI specifics would be hidden in the ‘actions’). However, having the UI oriented use cases as the primary source of information makes it hard to focus on the transaction handling and other aspects of the system.

My message would be this: don’t start creating test cases from use cases, or similar developer oriented sources of information, before you have had a chance to create a high level test design, in which you specify which test products you’re going to create and what level of detail they would need to have.

Article by Hans Buwalda, CTO, LogiGear Corporation

 

Hans Buwalda

Hans leads LogiGear’s research and development of test automation solutions, and the delivery of advanced test automation consulting and engineering services. He is a pioneer of the keyword approach for software testing organizations, and he assists clients in strategic implementation of the Action Based Testing™ method throughout their testing organizations.

Hans is also the original architect of LogiGear’s TestArchitect™, the modular keyword-driven toolset for software test design, automation and management. Hans is an internationally recognized expert on test automation, test development and testing technology management. He is coauthor of Integrated Test Design and Automation (Addison Wesley, 2001), and speaks frequently at international testing conferences.

Hans holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from Free University, Amsterdam.

Hans Buwalda
Hans Buwalda, CTO of LogiGear, is a pioneer of the Action Based and Soap Opera methodologies of testing and automation, and lead developer of TestArchitect, LogiGear’s keyword-based toolset for software test design, automation and management. He is co-author of Integrated Test Design and Automation, and a frequent speaker at test conferences.

The Related Post

When configured with a Python harness, TestArchitect can be used to automate testing on software for custom hardware Unlike other proprietary and open source tools, that are able to automate only desktop, or mobile, TestArchitect (TA Test) has the ability to test the software that runs on hardware in the following ways: 1. TA can ...
Take 5 and test your knowledge on the Software Testing essentials covered in our March 2019 issue. Good luck!
Elfriede Dustin of Innovative Defense Technology, is the author of various books including Automated Software Testing, Quality Web Systems, and her latest book Effective Software Testing. Dustin discusses her views on test design, scaling automation and the current state of test automation tools. LogiGear: With Test Design being an important ingredient to successful test automation, ...
With the new year just around the corner, here’s a look at the Test Automation trends that have the potential to dominate. DevOps is being relied upon more than ever. With there being strong Market Drivers for the adoption of DevOps, the need for Test Automation has also never been greater. But what’s next after ...
A short-list of selection criteria and popular automation tools. There are a lot of test automation tools available in the market, from heavy-duty enterprise level tools to quick and dirty playback-and-record tools for browser testing. For anyone just starting their research we’ve put together a short list of requirements and tools to consider.
Bringing in experts can set you up for automation success. Test automation isn’t easy when your testing gets beyond a few hundred test cases. Lots of brilliant testers and large organizations have, and continue to struggle with test automation, and not for lack of effort. Everyone understands the value of test automation, but few testing ...
LogiGear Magazine September Test Automation Issue 2017
Test Automation is significant and growing-yet I have read many forum comments and blog posts about Test Automation not delivering as expected. It’s true that test automation can improve reliability while minimizing variability in the results, speed up the process, increase test coverage, and ultimately provide greater confidence in the quality of the software being ...
Introduction In many of the Test Automation projects that we are involved with using our Action-Based Testing methodology, management has expressed a need to relate tests and test results to system requirements. The underlying thought is that automation will create extra possibilities to control the level of compliance to requirements of the system under test. ...
Divide and conquer was a strategy successfully employed by ancient Persian kings against their Greek enemies. It is a strategy that can still be used successfully today. Fundamentally, by dividing something into smaller more manageable pieces (in the case of the ancient Persians, they divided the Greek city states), it becomes much more manageable.
The challenges with any automation effort is to know your capability. I’ve seen too many automation efforts begin and end with a tool decision. Generally these tools are very complex pieces of software that do many more things then we would ever use in our normal everyday testing. It even adds more misery to the ...
Understanding the benefits and challenges of Automating ERP is critical. According to SAP, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) “is the core processes that are needed to run a company: finance, human resources, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement, and others. At its most basic level, ERP integrates these processes into a single system. But new ERP systems ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news

Subscribe