How to increase efficiency and productivity during the test design phase
In today's fast-moving enterprises, delivering software projects on time, on budget and to a high quality can be a challenge. Software testing plays a vital role in ensuring the successful delivery of a project but it can be a costly and time-consuming exercise.
To avoid losing speed or sacrificing quality, software testing teams must find smarter ways to plan, design, and execute test cases.
In the post we'll share how, by adopting modularisation and parameterisation techniques to your test case design, you will benefit from a rapid improvement in productivity and reusability across your test cycles. By deploying these techniques you can break your test cases into smaller reusable modules, instead of copying, and pasting test cases or steps. It's the bite-sized reusable test cases that help to significantly reduce redundancy, and duplication during the test design phase whilst boosting reusability for large-scale test case libraries.
The building blocks of reusability: modularisation and parameterisation
Modular test design helps testers focus on the bigger picture by mapping out the interactions between different requirements. Having an in-depth understanding of your application makes it easier to design modules that are specific but also generic enough to be reused in lots of different scenarios.
Now let's explore a couple of test design strategies to improve reusability; test modularisation and parameterisation. Both reduce the need to copy and paste test steps every time you need update a test case. Modularisation is a function-based method of test design where testers categorise functionality to be tested into reusable “modules." Parameterisation is when you replace hard-coded input values that are hard to change with parameters. Once you've created parameters you can re-use test commands with multiple data sets, and create a more flexible test process.
With the modularisation technique, testers break down test cases into logical, manageable functions, or modules. These modules are isolated to create independent tests that can then be recombined or reused to make larger master test cases to achieve complex end-to-end testing scenarios. Test cases can be referenced in other test cases to create nested reusable structures. By doing so, the test team can combine as many variations as needed to test the application by both functional area, and end-user workflow. As a result, there's less maintenance effort because by updating the corresponding module all test cases reusing it are also up-dated in one go.
In order to get started with the modularisation technique, follow the steps below:
- Step 1 - Understand the workflow of the application before you start to identify which modules need to be created
- Step 2 - Map out which steps are repeated on a page or across multiple pages
- Step 3 - Break down these repeated steps into bite-sized reusable modules
- Step 4 - Use a skeleton master test case to call out the modules
Skeleton master test case to call out the modules
With Adaptavist Test Management for JIRA you can design modular test cases inside Jira and reuse them to make larger end-to-end test cases by using the Call to Test functionality. By doing so, you can create nested reusable modules and enable reusability across all your test cycles as displayed in the image below:
Reusing test cases to achieve complex end-to-end scenarios.
Test parametrisation allows you to use modules to run the same test over and over again using different values, making easy it to share modules between multiple test cases. This can be done by defining parameter values in your test sets, which automatically shares these values in all test cases within the test set. The way it works is the master test case calls a reusable module by passing a set of parameters, which can affect how input or output is displayed during the test execution. The parameters can contain default values enabling you to change each default parameter according to the test at hand. This is particularly useful when teams have to run a high volume of varying tests (see image below):
Generic modules found in most applications include:
- Create records
Adaptavist Test Management for JIRA allows the user to design test cases with parameters. It unlocks more flexibility and comprehensively reduces redundancy and other duplication in the test design phase as you'll see bellow:
Designing modular test cases with parameters to be reused over and over again using different values.
Getting started with modular test case design
The sophisticated functionality of today’s software combined with fast-paced release cycles requires smarter approaches for test case design to maximise productivity and minimise repetitive tasks. Start with small, manageable chunks to create a modular test library that is function-focused.
The compact and functional nature of modular tests makes them easier to debug and more efficient to maintain. In the long term, this technique will help you establish large-scale reusable test libraries whilst building consistency into all your testing processes.