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How to Successfully Use Test Cases

Roxanne Vitacco • March 12, 2018

Implementing an eCommerce platform requires careful planning, quick development, and thorough testing to be successful. What happens is that during an eCommerce implementation, developers customize the base platform to suit a client’s needs. A Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst, also known as a tester, then validates the developers’ work by creating test cases against the requirements that were set by the client.  

The end product is a combination of custom functions and the commerce platform’s out-of-the-box (OOTB) features.  For these OOTB features, QA testers can script test cases and reuse them from project to project as long as they are working on the same platform.

While building these test scripts has many benefits, there are also drawbacks.  These tools take a lot of time to build, so it’s imperative that any manual testing is done in the most efficient way possible.

 

The Case For Test Cases

The obvious benefit of OOTB test cases is that they can be reused from project to project, saving a tester’s time and speeding up their project.

With a set of base test cases handy, a tester can select the the applicable cases for their project instead of scripting the tests from scratch. Saved project time equals money: cost savings are passed to the client and/or the tester can be more proactive, focusing on writing more detailed test scenarios for more complex customized functionality.  

Another benefit of an OOTB test case script is that it can act as a helpful training introduction for QA Analysts, Business Analysts, or any other stakeholder who is interested in walking through and understanding more about the platform.

 

Drawbacks

Wow, it seems like OOTB scripts are the way to go. You should make them for every situation, right? Not so fast…

Time is the biggest cost with these scripts.They don’t just take time to create, they take time to maintain.

First, a test suite requires maintenance. Platform updates will introduce, update, and remove OOTB platform features. Test cases will need to be reviewed and tweaked to ensure they are as up to date as the platform.

Second, OOTB test cases are broad and general. When reusing them in a different project, the script’s steps may not exactly follow the new flow. Objectives and expected results shouldn’t change, but the directions on how to get from Point A to Point B may need some tuning and interpretation from the tester.  

 

Smartly Leveraging Test Cases

Given these considerations, testers and managers should take some time to decide if they want to spend the time putting a test suite together. In general, if there are QA personnel with free hours, creating these scripts makes a lot of sense. This is a great bench-time activity for someone who is not on a project or working on a more valuable or pressing task.  

Another approach is to work with a Business Analyst or similar role and have them flag each requirement as either an OOTB requirement or customization. This way, QA can filter out the OOTB test cases to form the base of the suite.

In sum, having a suite of OOTB test scripts is a benefit for the QA team, given there is bandwidth.  Their ability to be recycled and reused saves valuable time and is of great benefit to the team and the client. Going about building them the right way is what unlocks their true value.


Roxanne Vitacco

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Roxanne Vitacco

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