What will we test and how will we provide traceability of what has been tested?

There are a myriad of ways to pen down your Test Ideas and keep track of them. Even though versatility, adaptability and variability are huge assets to any testing process, the lion’s share of “Test management” tools only support the archaic Test Step and Expected Result format. I put “Test management” tool between quotation marks as that is how these tools are marketed and sold. They usually are better described as “Test Case Management” tools. Apart from limiting your test design to steps they also limit your testers from being creative, intelligent, innovative team members. While everyone else is actually building on a product that will change people’s worlds, work and/or life, your testers are penning down scripts so that they can show: “this is what we tested”.

WRONG. Test Cases or scripts do not represent coverage. They never will. They are text in a database and will never become more than that. They are much more likely to wither away and, in a first stage, become obsolete, in a second stage; waste.

Thinking back on my experience with these methods, I’ll put it in estimates:

Test Cases written: 500+
Test Cases executed in the traditional sense: 0

Could you imagine writing down everything you are going to do during the day in a script, before you actually do it? “write line X | see if line X is properly added”

Informal – Formal testing

Most projects use a combination of formal and informal test activities. Under extreme formal testing, we understand that the test cases are written out up front and in prose or code so that one path is followed and one result is checked.

Informal techniques  do not usually prepare testing in the form of scripts, but take a more open-ended approach. When testing more informally, you prepare to go through the application beforehand, but keep in mind that other paths can be followed. You adapt, you vary, you explore, you chase.


I borrowed this image from Michael Bolton’s article:

It is often claimed that the complication with informal testing is to achieve some way of traceability.
Well, this can be done by creating video logs, checklists, decision tables, mind maps, test charters,… before/during and sometimes after your testing. There are many tools and methodologies that can be followed.

Unsurprisingly, the only real difficulty is in adding these artifacts to your “Test management” tool.


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