What is Test Scenario or Scenario Testing?

A test scenario is a process to ensure that the software product’s functionality meets the business requirement, and we are guaranteed that the software product is working correctly irrespective of user condition and implementation environment.

The test scenario is a detailed document of test cases covering a software application’s end-to-end functionality in linear statements. It is derived from a use case and written with the functional specification.

The test scenario contains steps for testing all possible data entry formats of end-to-end functionality, i.e., positive path, negative path, exceptional conditions, etc.

Test Scenarios Definition

The main objective of this type of testing is to verify the performance and functionality of the complete product from an end-user perspective. So for this, testers acted as the end-user and tried use cases that could be implemented after the product’s release to the end customers.

What Test Scenario?

Generating a test scenario from a use case is one of the key activities when executing the following:

  • Test Panning
  • Test Design
  • Code Inspections
  • Code Reviews.

Developers can generate test scenarios as part of regression testing to validate bug fixes and enhancements that have not broken existing software behavior. The test scenario provides a detailed description of the behavior of a software system.

The test scenario is derived from functional specifications and is essential for unit testing (class testing), integration testing (module or component level), and system testing. It can be used to write test cases, which are then executed by testers.

What Do We Get From Test Scenario?

A test scenario provides the following benefits,

A detailed guideline for testers to follow when testing an application. Test scenarios describe what should happen, not how things work. It details a set of input parameters and expected output values (expected results).

Test scenarios clarify functional requirements and test specifications by providing a common language between developers and testers, as they can state exceptions using use-case terminology. They can also use test scenarios to derive additional ones using walk-through testing, branch testing, and decision-testing methodologies.

Test scenarios provide the foundation for automated unit tests written in code. An automated test framework is used to determine if the application behaves correctly when various inputs – called stimuli are given to it.

As developers start writing automated unit tests, they typically start with a test scenario. The preferred way to write a test case in JUnit is using the TestCase class, which extends org.junit.Test class and provide a setUp() method for data preparation and tearDown() method for cleanup after execution.

Scenario Testing

Testing is another variation of testing like other testing processes. In scenario testing, test scenarios are used for the testing.

Exhaustive testing is not possible due to a large number of data combinations and a large number of possible paths in the software.

  • Scenario testing ensures that the end-to-end functionality of the application under test is working as expected. Also, check if all business flows are working as expected.
  • In scenario testing, the tester needs to put his/her foot in the end user’s shoes to check and perform the action for how they use the application under test.
  • In scenario testing, the preparation of scenarios would be the most important part. To prepare the scenario, the tester must consult or get help from the client, stakeholders, or developers.

What Does Test Scenario Mean?

The test scenarios are an integral part of the software testing process, and the testers use it to ensure the test coverage and user usage by which testers can validate the software according to the business process flow. Below are some other reasons for creating test scenarios.

  • It helps us to validate the test coverage.
  • The test scenarios are validated by stakeholders like BA, developers, and customers to ensure that the software or product is thoroughly tested for all the functionality. It also provides that the software works accurately for the most common use cases.
  • It also determines the testing flow of an organization and the testing efforts needed to test that application.
  • This document also helps get an idea of the end-to-end functioning of the software and helps in finding out how to use the product or software application.
  • It helps the team validate that the software application’s business process works correctly.

Benefits of Test Scenario

Testing a software application with the use of test scenarios has various benefits for the testers; we are trying to list some of the benefits below:

  • If the scenarios are prepared with well thought and try to cover the various possible scenarios, then it helps to do repetitive testing of the same feature again and again.
  • Good test scenarios help us reduce the same functionality test repeatedly. Because of that, it also helps reduce the organization’s effort, time, and money.
  • Test cases are created based on test scenarios. If those test scenarios are prepared after deep thought, then that helps to produce meaningful test cases that check the software with the minimum effort.
  • One of the biggest advantages of test cases is that, by using them, testers verify the functionality and performance of the application from a user usage perspective.

Difference Between Test Cases Vs Test Scenario

The test Case is ‘How to be tested,’ and the Test Scenario is ‘What to be tested.’ Test Case: A test case is a set of conditions or variables under which a tester will determine whether an application, software system, or one of its features is working as it was originally established for it to do.

Test Case

  • The test case consists of a test case name, Precondition, steps/input condition, and expected result.
  • Test cases are low-level actions that can be derived from test scenarios.
  • The test case is given detailed information about any pre-conditions, what to test, how to test, and expected result, etc
  • Test case means detailed documenting the cases which help to execute while testing.
  • Test cases are steps performed on the system to verify the expected output.
  • Test cases are more important when on-site development and QA is offshore. It will help to understand and keep both developers and QA in sync.
  • Writing test cases is a one-time effort that can be used in the future while executing the regression test case.  Reporting defects will help the tester link the defect with the test case ID.
  • The detailed test case document is a fullproof guard for the new software tester. If a developer misses something, it is easy to catch while executing these fullproof test cases.
  • It requires more time and resources due to a detailed test case discussing how and what to test.

Test Scenario

  • The scenario document consists of a detailed test procedure. We can also say that a test scenario has many associated test cases. Before executing the test scenario, we must consider each scenario’s test cases.
  • Test scenarios are the high-level classification of test requirements grouped depending on the functionality of a module, and they can be derived from use cases.
  • The test scenario is a one-line statement telling us what to test.
  • Test Scenarios mean talking and thinking requirements in detail.
  • This is a thread of operations.
  • Test scenarios are more important when the time to write test cases is insufficient, and team members agree with the detailed one-liner scenario.
  • New software testing generation is a new idea and a time-saving activity. The addition and modification (easy maintainability) of scenarios are easy and independent of a specific person.
  • One of the most positive points about the test scenario is that it is useful to reduce the complexity and repeatability of the product.
  • If the scenario document is not detailed enough, then it might take some time to discuss and understand what the scenario is talking about.

How To Create a Good Test Scenario?

There are a number of ways to create test scenarios. The following discussion provides the general guidelines,

Decide on one scenario format that you will use for all test scenarios. Many formats are available, such as given/when/then and with/without/exception statements in sequential and concurrent (parallel) formats.

Test scenarios can be written using the most comfortable format for each individual.

While choosing the format, remember your organization’s standards and any other documents or guidelines used to define functional requirements, such as use cases or user stories. If you are a new team member, learn from one of the existing members how they write test scenarios before making changes.

Some of the commonly used test scenario formats are,

Given/When/Then is the sequential format that starts with a series of given statements followed by one or more when statements and ends with a single then statement. Given – A statement providing context for the subject of interest; When – An event that causes the subject of interest to do something; Then – The outcome or result after the subject has done something.

There is no limitation on the number of then statements, and given, when and then can be used in any combination. In addition, variations are available for print/display statements such as Print (or Display) “Line1”, Line2, Line3 where the first line is expected to be printed and the subsequent lines are used for comments.

So, a test scenario might look like this:

Given login user as John_Doe, password as “password”, Username should display “John Doe” using “Welcome to XYZ site.” message on UserAgent area

When a user tries to log in as John_Doe with the password “password”

Then, expect the message to be displayed in the UserAgent area. As we can see here, we can clearly define expectations for all related modules by using given/when statements. There is no doubt about how this test scenario will behave when executed. A sentence in natural language can be used in any combination, such as,

When a user tries to log in as John_Doe with password “password, ” expect the message to be displayed in the UserAgent area.

Decide on the most comfortable format for you and communicate it effectively so that all team members use the same format.

The following diagram illustrates the Given/When/Then format.

The given section defines the initial context or state and provides information on its setup. The when section introduces an event that causes a change to the scenario. The section describes what happens after the subject has reacted to the stimulus.

We can also write test scenarios using with/without/exception statements. The following diagram illustrates it,

The with section describes the context or initial state in which the scenario is executed, while the without section describes that same context but without some of the elements described in the previous statement. The exception is a section where an error condition is raised during the execution of a test scenario. While using exceptions, we need to decide between expected and unexpected exceptions.

The use of with/without statements reduces the need to write a large number of scenarios. However, it loses some of the clarity provided by the given/when/then format when it comes to identifying all modules affected in case an exception condition is raised during execution.

Why create Test Scenarios?

If we are asked to write a test module, maintaining one or more scenarios will play an important part in writing a complete and effective module.

A scenario defines how our module (or application) should work. The basic idea is that if all of our test cases pass, it means that delivering the product into production will work correctly for our customers.

All the test cases in a scenario represent different aspects of the application we are testing – and if all those tests pass, we have a high confidence that the application will perform as expected. By creating and executing test scenarios on a regular basis, we can determine whether the application under test is behaving as it should. If not, we can make the necessary adjustments to remove any issues before they are rolled out into production.

Test scenarios serve as documentation for the product or module under development and as a communication medium between the developer and tester(s). These artifacts act like blueprints that provide a general understanding of what the application will do. These documents should be updated as the application evolves and becomes more sophisticated. I always refer to test scenarios as a living document, which is subject to change without notice, either by me or my colleagues.

Test scenarios are used for two purposes,

They clearly understand what functionality will be delivered with the release in terms of functional and non-functional requirements. They help in identifying scope creep, if any and help to take corrective measure.

It is very important to understand clearly what behavior we want our product to exhibit. By having distinct test cases for all the related modules, we can ensure that the scenario behaves exactly as intended. Never try to get away with one or two test cases to cover multiple modules. It will cost you heavily in the long run.

Testing is about ensuring your product is free from defects and meets the requirements. If not, you need to fix them before release or go back to the drawing board and re-develop if there is scope available. As a team lead, I try to write scenarios as per product requirements and then assign them to individual developers. Each developer will work on it and get back to us with status reports on whether they have completed a scenario. I always recommend to my juniors that at the end of the day, we should have a 100% pass for all scenarios assigned to us; if you cannot complete them, then you need to find out the reason and fix it.

While creating test scenarios, you should try to cover all possible cases. If any scenario is not complete or is found to be broken, then raise a defect, and the developer will get back to you with fixes as soon as possible. You can update the product and test case builds to reflect the newly developed features. It is better to have a work-in-progress build of the product and test suite to continue testing the non-functional requirements not covered in test scenarios.

As a team lead, I am responsible for being good at product and test management. I do not expect my juniors to know about product management automatically. Hence, it is our duty to educate them about test scenarios and their importance in testing.

Test scenarios help us to track the decisions made during software development, and they are clear documentation that developers, testers, and other stakeholders can review. Having a history of changes for the stories might be useful from the point of view of the project manager and some other stakeholders.

Test scenarios provide a clear understanding of what will be delivered in a particular release and cover functionalities and non-functional requirements like performance, load, security, etc. It is important for both the developer and tester to know what they need to deliver during the Sprint.

Test scenarios act as a communication tool between team members, and scope creep is possible if not managed properly.

How to Write Test Scenarios?

Well, I am not good at writing tutorials. But if you want me to write a tutorial on test scenarios, I would like to cover the following topics. I highly recommend reading them individually, in the given sequence, as this will give you a holistic picture of how to write test scenarios.

  • A clear understanding of the product
  • Writing good test scenarios
  • Write a sample code for every test scenario
  • How to write a test case?
  • Test data management and reporting issues
  • Summary against each story/feature – This is my favorite part

I hope this helps. I have used this post for my team to enhance their test-management skills. Considering these points while writing test scenarios and achieving a 100% pass rate in your Sprint Review is very important.

Tips to Create Test Scenarios

To write effective tests, we first need to know, understand, and document in detail how the system works. As an application grows, it becomes harder to create successful test scenarios because of increasing complexity. Therefore, we should first try to break down the application into smaller pieces to make it easy to create good test scenarios. It is also important to set priorities for the feature/story and carry out testing accordingly.

  • Define Business Goals – As per the business goals document, define the product requirements to help achieve those goals. After that, understand how various product functionalities will fulfill the business goals.
  • Know your application – Write various scenarios for each functionality to help achieve the above goal(s).
  • Prioritize – Decide on what should be done and whatnot.
  • Create test cases/specifications from the scenarios
  • Define validation criteria
  • Define the pass/fail criterion for each test case/specification.
  • Test data and the environment – Before starting testing, we should know how many database records need to be created, what volume is involved in the application, etc. We also have to identify the target DB which will be used for testing.
  • Define and document various scenarios before starting actual testing.
  • Prepare test data – For each test case/specification, we should have different input conditions to put through the system under test and verify the output against expected values.
  • Use meaningful fields for inputs and outputs, i.e., fields should be scalable and alphabetic.
  • Define setup, teardown, and clean-up scripts for testing. We can put these scripts in the Test Data Management tool to create database tables before the start of testing.
  • Prepare test cases/specifications as per the requirements document
  • Write test cases as per the requirement document.
  • Start testing – Test cases should be executed against the UAT environment so testers can see how end users will use the feature/story. After all tests have been executed, we should create a summary for each test case/specification and share it with teammates through meetings or mail conversations. This will help in knowing if the test case has failed or not.


Test scenarios are a must-have artifact for all the teams working on projects with non-trivial requirements. It provides a clear understanding to the product owners, developers, testers, and other stakeholders about what will be delivered for the upcoming release.

That’s all for now; I would like your feedback in the comments section below. If you found this article useful, please share it on social media and help others learn about test scenarios. Stay tuned for further updates in this series of articles.

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We are soon going to share the latest template of different test scenarios and also different examples that are going to help to test the functionality of the applications.

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I love open-source technologies and am very passionate about software development. I like to share my knowledge with others, especially on technology that's why I have given all the examples as simple as possible to understand for beginners. All the code posted on my blog is developed, compiled, and tested in my development environment. If you find any mistakes or bugs, Please drop an email to softwaretestingo.com@gmail.com, or You can join me on Linkedin.

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