INSIGHTS: What Is A Test Case?
Sastri Munsamy
Executive: Technology and Innovation

INSIGHTS: What Is A Test Case?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers defines a test case as a set of test inputs, execution conditions and expected results developed for a particular objective such as to exercise a particular problem or to verify compliance with specific requirements.

Wikipedia provides a slightly different definition. According to the popular, peer-reviewed website, a test case is a set of conditions or variables under which a tester will determine whether an application or software system meets specifications. The difference between the two definitions boils down to compliance versus requirements.

How Test Cases Work In The Real World

In an ideal world, software testers will have perfectly defined requirements. However, in the real world, there may be none. During the software testing phase, a tester may work with a list of requirements or self-imposed requirements. A software tester will develop and execute test cases in the course of testing of the software product. For testers who are developing test cases, it is an instrument to plan for the future testing that will need to be done on the software.

Many people think that test cases are only used for execution, but they are a valuable tool for planning. The test case is a document that describes step-by-step processes on how to test an application. Due to the fact that there are many different phases of testing, having a document that stipulates what needs to be tested and how it should be tested, is very helpful for the entire team, the developers as well as the client going forward.

Gaining Insights From Test Cases

There needs to be at least one requirement for each test case. Test cases usually form part of a collection of cases within the test suite. Virtually all the definitions of test cases imply that a test case will either fail or pass and that is how the tester verifies a requirement. By analysing the test case results, the software team can pinpoint exactly what parts of the application needs to be revisited and revised.

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