Manual Test Management – Planning

October 1, 2010

When it’s time to start planning your manual test efforts, being thorough in your preparation is the best way to ensure success. The most efficient way to begin developing your cases is to have your projects organized with test management planning tools such as Software Planner and TestComplete. These tools can help keep your tests organized, are easy to use, and require little in the way of maintenance. Once you’ve got your projects organized into separate automation and manual folders within the software’s library, you can start creating and executing your manual tests.

The key to planning successful manual execution is to develop requirements that are descriptive enough to include enough information for testers and programmers. Such requirements leave out extraneous information and unnecessary detail. When writing your requirements, make sure to explain any processes or details that you refer to. Although you do want to keep the description as short as possible, don’t leave out any important information. Manual test management tools are useful when writing requirements as they provide full traceability between cases and requirements.

When creating your requirements, it’s helpful to organize them by release within your management tool. Include numbered steps for any logic that needs to be followed, in order for testers to know what to place their focus on. It’s helpful to include a screenshot of any prototypes, so that both testers and developers can see the desired result. Finally, don’t forget to include business rules, so that you can identify the needed fields, define how large they should be and if they are required. This not only gives developers something to code from, but gives testers something to work from.

Once you’ve got your requirements and business rules for each case that you want to create, it’s time to start running the tests. For manual cases, it’s a good idea to run positive, negative and performance tests. Positive tests will cover the application the way it was designed, testing what should happen using valid data. Negative tests try to push the boundaries, covering those conditions as a way of trying to break the code. Performance testing allows you to cover the speed of a program when it’s running. You can review the results of each of these types of cases in your test management tool, and compare pass/fail rates and other data within the program’s dashboard.

By following these best practices for creating your manual test cases, you can help reduce the time wasted in having to rework items for the client before proceeding with a project. This will save your team valuable time and money. With properly scoped requirements and a well-defined prototype, your testers and developers can efficiently code and run cases. This all avoids rework and rerunning, which means reduced timelines and less expenditure.