3.8. Bonus Case Study

Ross Collard, principal consultant of Collard and Company and fellow testing expert, provided me with the following interesting case study that examines degrees of test case documentation details and precision. In this case study, Ross enumerates five points on the precision spectrum I showed as Figure 3.10, with an additional level for automation. Note that Ross uses the phrase "test specification" where I would probably use "test case."


A test specification can be detailed at several different levels:

Level 0:

No documentation is prepared before trying the test case: "Just do it".

Level 1:

A brief description of the overall purpose and nature of the test Typical length of the documentation: one or two lines.

Level 2:

A list of the conditions and items to be tested, with the description of each condition limited to one line. Typical length: a quarter page to a full page.

Level 3:

An outline of how to test each condition on the list in level 2. The outline includes the input data, initial conditions, and expected results for each condition. Typical length: a quarter to a half page for each condition, for a total of one to three pages.

Level 4:

A step-by-step description of how to perform the test manually, including every action, click, and keystroke. Typical length: a half page to two pages for each condition, for a total of three to 20 pages.

Level 5:

An automated test program. The typical length varies based ...

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