A test scenario is a process to ensure that the functionality of the software product is met with the business requirement with that 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 that cover end to end functionality of a software application in liner statements. It is derived from a use case and written along 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 respective. So for this, testers acted as the end-user and tried with use cases that can be implemented after the release of the product 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. Test scenario provides a step-by-step description of the behavior of a software system.
Test scenario is derived from functional specification and 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 provide clarity on both 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 as a source to derive additional test scenarios 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. In fact, the preferred way to write a test case in JUnit is by using TestCase class which extends org.junit.Test class and provides a setUp() method for preparation of data and tearDown() method for cleanup after execution
Testing is another variation of testing like other testing processes. In scenario testing, test scenarios are used for the testing.
The 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 is to make sure 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 as for how they are using the application under test.
- In scenario testing, the preparation of scenarios would be the most important part. To prepare the scenario, the tester needs to consult or take help from the client, stakeholder, or developers.
What Does Test Scenario Mean?
The test scenarios are an integral part of the software testing process, and it is used by the testers to ensure the test coverage and user usage by which testers can validate the software according to the business process flow. And below are some other reasons for creating test scenarios.
- It helps us to validate the test coverage.
- As the test scenarios are validated by the stakeholders like BA, developers, and customers to ensure that the software or product is thoroughly tested of all the functionality. So it also provides that the software is working 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 in getting an idea of the end-to-end functioning of the software and also helps to find out the process of how to use the product or software application.
- It helps the team to validate that the business process of the software application is working correctly.
Benefits of Test Scenario
Testing a software application with the use of test scenarios have various benefits to the testers, we are trying to list some of the benefits below:
- If the scenarios are prepared with a well thought and try to cover the various possible scenarios, then it helps to do repetitive testing of the same feature again and again.
- As good test scenarios help us to reduce to test the same functionality test again and again. Because of that, it also helps in reducing the effort time and money of the organization.
- 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 that testers verify the functionality and performance of the application from a user usage perspective.
Difference Between Test Cases Vs Test Scenario
Test Case is ‘How to be tested,’ and 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.
- The test case consists of a test case name, Precondition, steps/input condition, expected result.
- Test cases are low-level actions, and they can be derived from test scenarios
- The test case is given detailed information about if any pre-condition, 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 a set of steps performed on the system to verify the expected output.
- Test cases are more important in the case where development is happening on-site, and QA is happening Offshored. It will help to understand and make 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. While reporting defects, it will help the tester to link the defect with the test case id.
- The detailed test case document is a full proof guard for the new software tester. If a developer missed something, then it is easy to catch while executing these full-proof test cases.
- It requires more time and resources due to a detailed test case which talks about how to test and what to test.
- The scenario document consists of a detailed test procedure. We can also say that a test scenario has many test cases associated with it. Before executing the test scenario, we need to think of test cases for each scenario.
- Test scenarios are the high-level classification of test requirements grouped depending on the functionality of a module, and it can be derived from use cases.
- The test scenario is a one-line statement that tells us about what to test.
- Test Scenarios means 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 not sufficient, and team members agree with the detailed one-liner scenario.
- In new software testing generation, it is a new idea and time saver activity. The addition and modification (easy maintainability) of scenarios is easy and independent of a specific person.
- One of the most positive points about the test scenario is useful to reduce the complexity and repeatability of the product.
- If the scenario document was not detailed enough, then it might take some time to discuss and understand what the scenario is exactly 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. There are many formats available such as given/when/then and with/without/exception statements in both sequential and concurrent (parallel) formats.
Test scenarios can be written using the format that is most comfortable for each individual.
While choosing the format, keep in mind your organization’s standards and any other documents or guidelines that are 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 format is the sequential format where it starts with a series of given statements followed by one or more when statements and ends with a single then statement. Given – A statement that provides context for the subject of interest; When – An event that occurs 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, there are variations 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 password “password”
Then expect the message to be displayed in the UserAgent area As we can see here, we are able to clearly define expectations for all related modules by using given/when statements. There is no doubt 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” then expect the message to be displayed in the UserAgent area
Decide on one format that is most comfortable for you and communicate it effectively so that all members of your team 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 how it was set up. The when section introduces an event that causes a change to the scenario. The then 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 for writing 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 of 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 the way our module (or application) is supposed to work. The basic idea is that if all of our test cases pass, then it means that when we deliver the product into production, it will work correctly for our customers.
All the test cases in a scenario represent different aspects of the application that we are testing – and if all those tests pass, then we have a high level of confidence that the application is going to 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 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 provide a clear understanding of 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 have a clear understanding of what behavior we want our product to exhibit. By having distinct test cases for all the related modules, we can make sure that the scenario behaves exactly how it’s 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 all about making sure that your product is free from defects and it 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 the individual developers. Each developer will work on it and get back with status reports whether they have completed a scenario or not. 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 are not able to complete 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 found to be broken then raise a defect and the developer will get back with fixes as soon as possible. You can update both the product and your test case builds so that they reflect the newly developed features. It is better to have a work-in-progress build of the product and test suite so that can continue testing the non-functional requirements as well which are not covered in test scenarios.
As a team leads, it is my responsibility to be good at both product and test management. I do not expect my juniors to know automatically about product management, hence it is our duty to educate them about test scenarios and their importance in testing.
Test scenarios help us to track the decisions taken during software development and it is clear documentation that can be reviewed by developers, testers, and other stakeholders. 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 it covers not only functionalities but also non-functional requirements like performance, load, security, etc. It is important for both developer and tester to know what they need to deliver during the Sprint.
Test scenarios act as a communication tool between team members and also there is a possibility of scope creep 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 then I would like to cover the following topics. I would highly recommend that you read them one by one, in the given sequence as this will give you a holistic picture of how to write test scenarios.
- 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
Hope this helps. I have used this post for my team to enhance their test-management skills. It is very important to consider these points while writing test scenarios and achieving a 100% pass rate in your Sprint Review.
Tips to Create Test Scenarios
To write effective tests we first need to know, understand, and document in detail how the system really works. As an application grows it becomes harder to create successful test scenarios because of increasing complexity. Therefore at first, we should try to break down the application into smaller pieces so that it becomes 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, try to define the product requirements that can help in achieving those goals. After that try to understand how various functionalities of the product will fulfill the business goals.
- Know your application – Write various scenarios for each functionality that can help in achieving the above goal(s).
- Prioritize – Decide on what should be done and whatnot.
- Create test cases/specifications from the scenarios
- Define validation criteria
- Define 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 kind of 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 both 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 that testers can see how end users are going to 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 meeting or mail conversation. This will help in knowing if the test case has failed or not.
In my opinion, test scenarios are a must-have artifact for all the teams working on projects having 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.
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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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