Using Test Case Parameters in Test Management Tools

May 31, 2012

The ability to add parameters to testcases enables you to write testcases once and then run different instances multiple times with different parameters. It’s a key capability in test management that saves time, enables you scale up your testing more efficiently and helps avoid mistakes when writing repetitive testcases.

It does add a degree of complexity to your test management process though. Managing large volumes of parameter data can become difficult. Sharing parameters across different test cases is not straightforward. And the point at which you define the parameters (e.g. at run time) can be critical to the success of this approach.

With QAComplete we’re going to see how to create parameters in testcases, how we define the parameters and what happens at run time when we create the different permutations of the tests.

Key points to understand with QAComplete are:

1. the parameters (or tokens as they are called in QAComplete) are defined in an external CSV file and have to be uploaded. This makes it slightly more cumbersome having to modify and then upload the parameter file each time. Having said that it usually far easier to manipulate the data in Excel in the first instance.

2. A parameter file has a one-to-one relationship with a testcase. So if you need to use the same parameter file for different testcases you’ll end up having to update and manage multiple instance of the parameter file. This common across most test management tools so isn’t a probably that’s unique to QAComplete.

3. QAComplete automatically creates the permutations of testcases at run time. There is no capability to modify or adjust the parameters when come to start the test run. Having said that you can modify the testcase when as you execute it (assuming you have the privileges set to do so).

Using parameters is a very useful feature to have in a test management tool. It simplifies managing permutations of test cases. Having said that it does bring with it it’s own set of issues and complexities. So long as you understand these points, like how easy is it to manage the parameter data, it’s usually a far simpler way to manage an otherwise complex part of your test management process.