Testing Artifacts

Software testing process can produce several artifacts.

Test plan

A test specification is called a test plan. The developers are well aware what test plans will be executed and this information is made available to management and the developers. The idea is to make them more cautious when developing their code or making additional changes. Some companies have a higher-level document called a test strategy.

A test plan documents the strategy that will be used to verify and ensure that a product or system meets its design specifications and other requirements. A test plan is usually prepared by or with significant input from Test Engineers.

Depending on the product and the responsibility of the organization to which the test plan applies, a test plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Design Verification or Compliance test – to be performed during the development or approval stages of the product, typically on a small sample of units.
  • Manufacturing or Production test – to be performed during preparation or assembly of the product in an ongoing manner for purposes of performance verification and quality control.
  • Acceptance or Commissioning test – to be performed at the time of delivery or installation of the product.
  • Service and Repair test – to be performed as required over the service life of the product.
  • Regression test – to be performed on an existing operational product, to verify that existing functionality didn’t get broken when other aspects of the environment are changed (e.g., upgrading the platform on which an existing application runs).

Test coverage in the test plan states what requirements will be verified during what stages of the product life. Test Coverage is derived from design specifications and other requirements, such as safety standards or regulatory codes, where each requirement or specification of the design ideally will have one or more corresponding means of verification.

Test methods in the test plan state how test coverage will be implemented. Test methods may be determined by standards, regulatory agencies, or contractual agreement, or may have to be created new. Test methods also specify test equipment to be used in the performance of the tests and establish pass/fail criteria. Test methods used to verify hardware design requirements can range from very simple steps, such as visual inspection, to elaborate test procedures that are documented separately.

Test responsibilities include what organizations will perform the test methods and at each stage of the product life. This allows test organizations to plan, acquire or develop test equipment and other resources necessary to implement the test methods for which they are responsible. Test responsibilities also includes, what data will be collected, and how that data will be stored and reported (often referred to as “deliverables”). One outcome of a successful test plan should be a record or report of the verification of all design specifications and requirements as agreed upon by all parties.

Traceability matrix

A traceability matrix is a table that correlates requirements or design documents to test documents. It is used to change tests when the source documents are changed, or to verify that the test results are correct.

A traceability matrix is a document, usually in the form of a table, which correlates any two baselined documents that require a many to many relationship to determine the completeness of the relationship. It is often used with high-level requirements (these often consist of marketing requirements) and detailed requirements of the software product to the matching parts of high-level design, detailed design, test plan, and test cases.

Test case

A test case normally consists of a unique identifier, requirement references from a design specification, preconditions, events, a series of steps (also known as actions) to follow, input, output, expected result, and actual result. Clinically defined a test case is an input and an expected result. This can be as pragmatic as ‘for condition x your derived result is y’, whereas other test cases described in more detail the input scenario and what results might be expected. It can occasionally be a series of steps (but often steps are contained in a separate test procedure that can be exercised against multiple test cases, as a matter of economy) but with one expected result or expected outcome. The optional fields are a test case ID, test step, or order of execution number, related requirement(s), depth, test category, author, and check boxes for whether the test is automatable and has been automated. Larger test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions. A test case should also contain a place for the actual result. These steps can be stored in a word processor document, spreadsheet, database, or other common repository. In a database system, you may also be able to see past test results, who generated the results, and what system configuration was used to generate those results. These past results would usually be stored in a separate table.

Test script

The test script is the combination of a test case, test procedure, and test data. Initially the term was derived from the product of work created by automated regression test tools. Today, test scripts can be manual, automated, or a combination of both.

A test script in software testing is a set of instructions that will be performed on the system under test to test that the system functions as expected.

Test suite

The most common term for a collection of test cases is a test suite. The test suite often also contains more detailed instructions or goals for each collection of test cases. It definitely contains a section where the tester identifies the system configuration used during testing. A group of test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions of the following tests.

In software development, a test suite, less commonly known as a validation suite, is a collection of test cases that are intended to be used to test a software program to show that it has some specified set of behaviors. A test suite often contains detailed instructions or goals for each collection of test cases and information on the system configuration to be used during testing. A group of test cases may also contain prerequisite states or steps, and descriptions of the following tests.

Test data

In most cases, multiple sets of values or data are used to test the same functionality of a particular feature. All the test values and changeable environmental components are collected in separate files and stored as test data. It is also useful to provide this data to the client and with the product or a project.

Test harness

The software, tools, samples of data input and output, and configurations are all referred to collectively as a test harness.

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