Options for Manual Test Case Development & Management

Amy E Reichert

Posted On: December 16, 2022

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Options for Manual Test Case Development & Management

The purpose of developing test cases is to ensure the application functions as expected for the customer. Test cases provide basic application documentation for every function, feature, and integrated connection. Test case development often detects defects in the design or missing requirements early in the development process. Additionally, well-written test cases provide internal documentation for all application processing. Test case development is an important part of determining software quality and keeping defects away from customers.

Test cases are the glue that holds the testing and release process together. Why include the release process? Without significant test case coverage, the application will fail when released. So, test cases are the backbone of ensuring the application performs as expected for customers. Simply put test cases and find defects before customers experience them.

What tools can you use to develop test cases? Do you even need tools? There are multiple methods or options for manual test case development. Let’s review a few options and their impact on test organization and management.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to develop, store, and manage test cases?
  • What are the options for test case development and management?
  • What are the advantages of using a Test Management tool?
  • How do test case development and management become disorganized?
  • Learn tips for organizing test cases without using a Test Management system.

This guide presents a variety of options and methods for developing test cases and tips for managing an ever-growing test case suite.

How to Develop, Store, and Manage Test Cases?

There are so many options for tools to develop test cases. The trick is selecting one and developing a plan to keep tests consistent, easy to update, and organized. The tool(s) required depends on test management needs, and the size of the team developing, executing, or using test cases for documentation purposes. Additionally, if testers plan to create Test Summary Reports or other test documentation, being able to easily find and determine the test’s objective is critical.

Additionally, when teams re-use tests or need to update or maintain them, the tests must be easy to track down. When the tests cannot be easily located then testers or users create another test or update the incorrect test case. Test cases improperly edited or changed create invalid tests that no longer represent an accurate application function or workflow.

When selecting tools for test case development and management, consider the following:

  • How many team members are developing test cases?
  • How often are new features added to the application?
  • Does the team expect to update, maintain or re-use test cases?
  • Does testing occur continuously or only during scheduled test execution periods?
  • What other roles plan to use the test cases?
  • Do you plan to share test cases with customers?

Consider the above when choosing which tool to use. Of course, test case development can start in one tool, and then move to another if the need arises. The problem is exporting and importing tests doesn’t work as well as one would like. You’ll end up spending significant time re-writing or copy-pasting tests to a new system.

What are the Options for Test Case Development and Management?

The options are nearly endless. First, there are the traditional test development and management tools like Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet tools, and Microsoft Word or other writing software tools. Google, Apple, and Microsoft provide cloud-based tools that serve the same functions. Most of these tools are free except for Microsoft tools which require a subscription.

The beauty of cloud-based tools is the ease of sharing documents with team members. Files are easily shared, edited, and even copied. Test documents are stored long-term and available for the full team at any time. An organization can do the same functions within JIRA’s Confluence and similar online tools meant for creating user stories, and user requirements. Many developer toolsets often include a text or spreadsheet file creator as well.

Other tool options to consider:

  • Trello, JIRA, or other task management tools
  • OneNote, Sticky Notes, or other note-taking tools
  • Notepad or simple text editor tools
  • Test Management Tools designed for managing test case
  • MindMapping

What are the Advantages of using a Test Management Tool?

Test management tools provide structure and standardization for test cases. Test case development can be standardized with templates and other items to enforce a test case standard. Additionally, test management tools provide test development tools as well as test suite creation, test execution, and reporting. Essentially, test management tools provide the infrastructure to create, organize, and manage tests while also providing automatic or built-in reporting.

Other advantages of using a test management tool include:

  • Single tool access for all test cases
  • Version control
  • User access control for deleting and editing tests
  • Integration with automated test tools
  • Test storage with search options
  • Custom organizational framework for tests based on function or module
  • Accessible to all team members within the tool

Test management tools provide single-tool access for all team members. Test case development and management are simpler when stored in a tool. Research on tools that best fit the organization and size of the testing team is required. There are hundreds of Test Management tools from full application lifecycle management tools to simpler add-ons for JIRA and other similar task management systems. Plan to spend time testing out free demos and researching costs before selecting a tool.

How Test Case Development and Management become disorganized

When testing teams use spreadsheets, writing programs, or online wiki-type tools to create test cases they can easily get disorganized rapidly. For example, our organization has 3 testers responsible for test case development, execution, and maintenance. Tester 1 uses a specific format in a spreadsheet, while Tester 2 uses a table in Word, and Tester 3 uses JIRA confluence and writes in a user story style.

The test suite will differ widely in tool, style, and form. Not to mention where or how you’d store the files. Many teams share files within DropBox, Sharepoint, or even JIRA Confluence. The problem arises when one has to find and share tests with others. Unless the team creates a standard test organization framework and testers agree on the style and tool type, the result is a mishmash of styles, tools, and writing styles.

If you plan to use spreadsheets or writing programs, then start by creating a standard format. When all test development is created within the expected standard format, sharing, understanding, and editing tests become simpler. Additionally, create a pattern or file folder system where test cases can be stored, version controlled, and easily located. Otherwise, the team spends more time simply trying to find the test cases than they will spend executing tests.

Before developing test cases, decide on an approach and plan test organization. The testing team needs to create a test management strategy that includes the standards for developing, storing, and managing test cases. The numbers of test cases tend to balloon rapidly, so organize them at the beginning to avoid having to redo any work.

There are many options for tools to develop and manage test cases. Anything from a simple spreadsheet or writing program to a full test management tool. Each has its advantages. Businesses may choose to use Excel for example simply because they already pay for it.Many organizations prefer Google Docs and Sheets because they’re easy to share amongst team members.

Remember to develop a strategy for developing, managing, and storing test cases before starting test case development. Once a test set becomes disorganized it’s next to impossible to fix without significant re-engineering and re-work. Keep test cases organized for more effective and efficient application testing.

Also, read about the distinctions between Manual Testing v/s Automation Testing in this Comprehensive Guide.

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Amy E Reichert

Amy E Reichert is a Freelance writer for a variety of topics focused mainly on QA testing, Agile, and technology trends. Amy has 23 years of professional experience as a QA Engineer/Analyst within the ERP, healthcare, and business management sectors. Many years of developing test process, leading diverse and inclusive teams as well as testing on mobile and web applications.

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