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Test Scenario Vs Test Case – Key Differences

Test Scenario vs Test Case

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Introduction

Have you ever come across these two terms, “Test Scenarios” and “Test Cases”. They may sound like some mysterious technological terms. You might have so many questions in your mind related to these two. Well, believe us, we have these questions too.

Imagine that you are on a treasure hunt and you are looking for perfect and defect free software. This quest has some criteria to be followed. Similarly, in the tech industry we have some set of requirements to perform a task. In the field of software quality assurance we name these requirements as “Test Scenarios” and “Test Cases”.

These two provide guidelines to software developers and testers to ensure that a software works perfectly. Join us as we uncover their differences, how to create them, how to utilize them and learn why Test Scenarios and Test Cases are considered as fundamental concepts in software testing.

Let’s begin.

What is a Test Scenario?

Test Scenarios

A Test Scenario is a document or statement, providing a roadmap for testing functionality of a software or application. A test scenario acts as a basis for several test cases. It provides an overview about what needs to be tested in a software by QA team.

Here are some reasons why software testers consider test scenarios as crucial components for their testing and quality assurance? And why do they always begin testing with test scenarios?;

  • Test scenarios provide an understanding about the scope and objective of the test.
  • They give a high- level overview for which software functionality needs to be tested without going deeper into details.
  • They are the source of communication between technical and non-technical staff explaining the purpose of testing in simple language.
  • They serve as the foundation of software testing, providing a basis for multiple test cases catering various aspects of the software.
  • Test scenarios are an effective tool for designing an efficient and structured test plan.
  • They enable software testers to track the progress of the testing process ensuring that each scenario has been properly applied by the testing team.

What is a Test Case?

Test Scenarios vs Test Cases

A Test Case is defined as a checklist for testing a software. It is a step-by-step guide to determine if various functionalities and conditions have been satisfied or not. The procedure of writing a test case reveals defects and errors within the software.

Test Cases hold great significance in software quality assurance. They ensure that the entire software is strong and reliable. Here are some features about test cases that help you understand their importance for test engineers;

  • Test cases provide step by step guidelines on how to perform tests on particular functionality of the software.
  • They assure that every functionality of the software is aligned with requirements of the end users.
  • They are an effective tool to detect errors or risk attached to the software due steps outlined in the test plan.
  • Test case has capacity for retesting for regression testing, ensuring that previously resolved defects do not reoccur.
  • In test cases, all the steps applied for testing and their actual results are documented and reported, ensuring transparency in the software testing process.

Key Differences Between Test Scenario vs Test Case

Certainly, here are the key differences between Test Scenarios and Test Cases:

AspectsTest ScenariosTest Cases
ScopeTest Scenarios provide generalized summary for testing and are advanced in level.Test Cases provide step by step guidelines for testing focused on specific requirements.
Language

Test Scenarios are in simple language that could be used by non-technical stakeholders.

They are in technical language solely meant for developers and testers.
Purpose

Test Scenarios define test purpose and scope, forming the basis for test cases.

Test Cases are used for performing actual tests.

ClarityThey are in abstract form and do not contain detailed conditions or specific value.They are highly detailed in nature specifying input values, expected results and test data.
Stage of Usage

They are usually used at the initial phase of software development.

They are performed during the actual course of testing.
Dependence

Any change in test scenario might affect multiple test cases.

Test cases are independent. Changes in a single test case do not affect the other.
Coverage

They have comprehensive test coverage, covering all the major functionalities of the software.

.

They only cater to a specific function.
Validation

Test Scenarios just give an overview of testing objectives.

Test Case validates that a specific functionality is aligned with user requests.

Documentation

No documentation is being done in Test Scenarios.

Test Cases are properly documented and reported. This also helps testers to trace the entire testing process.

Writing Test Scenarios

When creating test scenarios, it is necessary to deeply understand the purpose of software, major features and user requirements. While creating test scenarios, focus on the most significant functionality of the software. It should be concise, clear and explain what to be tested and why.

Prior to testing, any preconditions like user authentication, data setup, or system configurations should be clearly defined.

Test scenarios must explain what should be performed during the test. They must be applied on complex software to identify errors. Testers should document the inputs and match expected outputs with actual results. Always consider unforeseen situations.

It is very essential to write test scenarios for database test cases. Database tests require testers to write test scenarios that help them in error identification. Detailed documents for the test ensure that you are testing the right requirement.

Working in a team and interaction among the peers and their feedback on testing improve the overall quality of test scenarios.

For example,

  • Test scenarios are created to verify login functionality of a web application that does it work properly or not.
  • For this purpose preconditions are required which include installation and accessibility of the web application.
  • Test scenario consists of verification that the user has been successfully logged using his credential and landed on the user dashboard.
  • To verify this functionality, the testing team will log out and then login again using incorrect credentials.
  • The web application displays an error message for invalid login attempt.
  • The tester will log in again with correct credentials to ensure that login functionality is working well and the application is reliable.

Writing Test Cases

Creating test cases is the basic skill in software quality assurance. A perfect test case should be clear, detailed and reliable.

Before you begin to write a detailed document on test steps, you should possess firm knowledge of the software application, its functionality, purposes and intended use. Breakdown the entire testing procedure into multiple test cases covering different aspects of the software.

Predefine the preconditions before we proceed to testing. Test case creation defines each and every step that a tester is required to follow. When you write test cases, make sure that all the steps must be easy to understand, including inputs, actions and their expected result. The actual results should be in accordance with the user’s expectations.

Always consider both regular and exceptional testing conditions and test how software copes with them. Examine test error conditions and check software’s response against them.

Test Case should be logically organized and consistent. Collaboration among the testing team members is highly important. Testing team must value individual feedback to improve precision and reliability of the software.

For example,

  • Test case is written to verify the shopping cart functionality of an e-commerce website. 
  • Preconditions for this test case are the e-commerce website should be functional and the user has already logged in his account. 
  • Test case will verify that selected products have been shown in the shopping cart with correct price and quantity. 
  • Testor will repeat the step 3-4 times by adding and removing different products from the shopping cart. 
  • After several attempts, testor verify that removed products are no longer shown in the shopping cart. 
  • This ensures that shopping cart functionality is working well and is reliable for use.

When to Use Test Scenarios Vs Test Cases

In software quality assurance, preferring one over the other is not spontaneous, rather it’s a strategic decision based on objectives and the extent of testing. Let’s explore the conditions when one approach is better to the other;

When to Use Test Scenarios:

  • Test scenarios are the perfect choice when a tester aims to examine software’s functionalities extensively with a high- level view. 
  • Single test scenarios are effective for initial stage testing providing quicker understanding, reducing the testing efforts.
  • Since test cases provide a general overview of testing in non-technical language, companies prefer test scenarios when discussing testing methods with stakeholders, project managers or clients.
  • Test scenarios are helpful in defining the scope and objective of software tests. 
  • It assists in outlining test execution phases for testing various aspects of the software.
  • In circumstances where there are fewer resources, test scenarios allow QA testing teams to focus on core functionalities without going deeper into extensive detailing.

When to Use Test Cases:

  • Test cases are the top choice when testing teams want to gain deeper knowledge about a software. 
  • When software is tested comprehensively leaving no stone unturned, test cases focus on providing all the necessary information.
  • Execute test cases for regression testing, where tests are reproduced to ensure that previously detected errors do not reappear.
  • Test cases provide step-by-step guidance where test execution involves complex functionalities or scenarios that involve multiple steps, calculations or data manipulations.
  • When you plan to perform test automation, test cases are preferable. Automation and its tools require comprehensive test explanation which makes test cases a natural choice.
  • Test cases are a source of structured plan for identifying and reporting defects or errors in the software application.

Real-World Examples

Example for Test Scenarios:

For real world usage situations, imagine you are a quality assurance specialist and you are assigned to plan a test scenario for an e-commerce website to examine its checkout process. You are required to ensure that the checkout process is smooth and free of error.

Test scenario will be, add items to the shopping cart, proceed to checkout. Enter all the required shipping and billing information. After selecting the payment method (cash or credit/debit card) review the order summary and place the order. Now the test scenario will verify whether the order confirmation page is displayed with a customer specific order number. Ensure that an order confirmation email has been sent to the provided user’s email.

In this test scenario we have only highlighted the high-level details of the entire checkout process without going deeper into the testing process.

Example for Test Cases:

Derived from the above test scenario, let’s formulate test cases for Credit Card payment processing. Test cases are required to ensure that the credit card payment processing works correctly during the checkout process.

For this test case the preconditions will be, items are already added to the shopping cart and the end user is at the payment step of the checkout process.

Test case will start with entering credit card information including, credit card number, expiration date and CVV. On entering the “Submit Payment” button verify the smooth processing of this process without errors. Examine that payment confirmation message is displayed and an order confirmation email is sent to registered email providing proof of a successful payment.

The output of this test case is that the process went smoothly without any defects, confirmation message is shown and confirmation email is received by the customers.

In performance test cases we have a detailed set of instructions for a particular aspect of software i.e. payment process. It has outlined preconditions, steps to be followed and expected results.

Conclusion

Understanding the key difference between test scenarios and test cases is highly crucial in the field of software testing and quality assurance. The harmony between the two is very important for effective software testing. Test scenarios present a broader picture, defining scope and objectives of the test, while test cases dive deeper into minute details and provide step-by-steps instruction for testing strategy.

Test scenarios are like the roadmap, helping you plan your journey, while test cases are the detailed directions that keep you on the right track. Whether you’re a test engineer, developer, or project manager, understanding this difference is key to delivering high-quality software that meets user expectations and functions flawlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Test Scenarios are broader and high-level guidelines for what to test, while Test Cases provides step by step guide for instructions to be followed.

Test scenarios define the scope of the test, whereas test cases provide a detailed set of instructions for testing a particular feature of the software.

Test scenarios are ideal for initial phase testing and quick examination of the software. Testing team member prefer test scenarios when testing is being done by non-technical stakeholders.

Use them when you require comprehensive testing with precision, reproducibility, and deep examination of specific functionalities. Test cases are suitable for automation and identifying errors.

Employ a combination of both to ensure accuracy and reliability. One test scenario define scope of testing, while test case explain detailed steps to be followed.

No, both are used in both manual and automated testing for software quality assurance.

Sure, testing the checkout process of an e-commerce website is a test scenario and verifying proper functioning of the credit card payment process is a test case.

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