So, you’ve written a fantastic new app for mobile phones, and you want to release it to the public. Congratulations! However, before you make your app go live, it would be prudent to test it out. After all, mistakes happen. Furthermore, you must make sure that the app’s functionality is what you planned.

You’re convinced that your app should be tested. Fine. But what’s the testing process like? Where do you even begin? This is a job for test scenarios!

This article explores the idea of test scenarios. We will define test scenarios, tell you why you should create them, when you shouldn’t, the features of a test scenario, and how to write one. We’ll finish things off with some test scenario best practices and a template.

We begin with a simple question: what is a test scenario?

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What Is a Test Scenario?

A test scenario is a document featuring a sequence of steps users could take in the course of using a specific software program during testing. It covers every test case that spans from one end of software functionality to the other, rendered by linear statements. Linear statements are classified as scenarios.

Test scenarios let testers put themselves in the consumer's place, the person who buys the application, because the tests are conducted from the point of view of the end-user. So, the tester assumes the role of the end-user and works through real-world scenarios and use cases of the application under test.

Scenario Testing

Scenario testing is a process that employs actual scenarios to test applications instead of relying on test cases. It uses hypothetical stories to help testers tackle a complicated problem or test system. So, scenario testing is the overall concept consisting of individual test scenarios.

Why Create Test Scenarios?

Here are the reasons why software developers need to create test scenarios.

  • Creating a test scenario fully completes test coverage.
  • Test scenarios are an asset for studying a program’s end-to-end functions.
  • Test scenarios ensure that the software in question works in the most common uses cases. Test scenarios ensure that the software in question works in the most common use cases. Furthermore, the scenarios are approved by diverse stakeholders such as business analysts, developers, and customers.
  • Test scenarios will improve the overall user experience.
  • Test scenarios serve as an efficient tool to rapidly determine the testing work effort, organize the workforce, or create a proposal for the client.
  • They help the developers determine the essential end-to-end transactions as well as the software application's actual use.

What Is a Test Scenario: When Should You NOT Create a Test Scenario?

As helpful as test scenarios are, sometimes you shouldn’t create them.

  • The application under test is unstable, overly complicated, or badly behind schedule.
  • Projects developed under Agile methodology (Kanban, Scrum, etc.) might not create test scenarios.
  • Regression testing or new bug fixes typically don’t use test scenarios. For these situations, the test scenarios must already be extensively documented in earlier test cycles, particularly for Maintenance projects.

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What’s the Difference Between a Test Case and a Test Scenario?

Here’s a chart that clearly illustrates the difference between test cases and test scenarios.

Test Case

Test Scenario

Necessary to keep developers and testers in sync

Necessary to show testers what their tasks are on a high level

Composed of individual, low-level actions that testers must undertake

Made up of high-level information focusing on which feature should be tested

Provides detailed information on what must be tested, the required testing steps, and what accurate results are expected

Only shows the information on which feature must be tested and the user story related to the feature

Comes from test scenarios

Comes from the requirements document

Test case creation is typically a one-time effort because cases can be reused, particularly during regression testing

Test scenarios may have to change to bring them in synch with newly developed features since the software may evolve

Best used for guiding individual testers’ progress in a particular project

Most helpful in simplifying things by spelling out everything that needs testing, as well as helping testers create a test case for each scenario

Guides users on how to test

Guides users on what to test

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What Is a Test Scenario: The Features of a Test Scenario

Here’s a list of the features commonly associated with test scenarios.

  • They are an activity designed to save time
  • They must be easy to maintain because scenario modification, alteration, and addition are simple and independent
  • They’re threads of operations
  • They are linear statements that help guide testers through the whole testing process and sequence
  • They should reduce repetition and complexity in a product
  • They encourage detailed thought and discussion about tests, then write them in liner statements
  • They become more valuable when testers lack time to write test cases and team members approve of the detailed liner scenario.

How to Write a Test Scenario

Any tester can write a test scenario by following these simple steps:

  • Step 1. Carefully read the required documents such as the BRS (Business Requirement Specification), FRS (Functional Requirement Specification), and SRS (System Requirement Specification) relating to the software to be tested.
  • Step 2. Figure out each requirement’s objective and technical aspect.
  • Step 3. Consider all the ways the user can interact with the software. This process even includes the perspective of someone who wants to abuse the application, like a hacker.
  • Step 4. Read the Requirements Document, complete the due analysis, and create a list of the different test scenarios that can verify each of the software’s various functions.
  • Step 5. After you have listed every test scenario, create a Traceability Matrix to verify that each requirement has a corresponding dedicated Test Scenario.
  • Step 6. Present the scenarios to your supervisor for review. The stakeholders will eventually review the scenarios.

Tips for Creating Test Scenarios

Here's some useful tips to consider when creating test scenarios.

  • Each test scenario should be linked to at least one requirement or user story following the project methodology.
  • Before creating a test scenario that simultaneously verifies multiple requirements, make sure you have a test scenario that will check that requirement individually.
  • Avoid creating needlessly complex test scenarios involving multiple requirements.
  • You may have a lot of scenarios to run, and the price to run them all can add up to a considerable expense. Instead, run selected test scenarios based on customer priorities.

What Is a Test Scenario: Samples of Test Scenarios

Here are some test scenarios arranged by a selection of various needs. Some test scenarios are further broken down into test cases. For the sake of space, we only include a small sample of test cases for the appropriate application.

  • Test Scenarios for eCommerce Application

  • Check the page’s log-in functionality
  1. Check system response to a valid ID and password.
  2. Check system response to an invalid ID and a valid password.
  3. Check system response when “keep me signed in” is checked off.
  • Check the search’s functionality
  • Check the product description page
  • Check payment functionality
  • Check customer order history
  • Test Scenarios for a Banking Site

  • Check log-in and authentication functionalities
  • Check that cash transfers can be accomplished
  • Check that the account statement can be called up
  • Check that you can create a recurring deposit
  • Test Scenarios for an Email Application

This section is broken down into four modules.

  • Test Scenarios for the Log-in Module

  1. Enter the correct log-in and see if the homepage is displayed.
  2. Enter invalid log-in information more than three times and check if the account is blocked.
  • Test Scenarios for the Compose E-mail Module

  1. Compose an e-mail, hit “send,” and wait for a confirmation message.
  2. Compose an e-mail, hit “send,” and check to see if it shows up in the Sent Mailbox.
  3. Check to see if To, CC, and BCC functions work for all users.
  • Test Scenarios for the E-mail Inbox Module

  1. Check to see if all CC mail recipients are visible to every user.
  2. Choose an e-mail, delete it, then verify that it’s in the trash bin.
  3. Verify that all e-mails are properly scanned for viruses before downloading.
  • Test Scenario for the E-mail Trash Module

  1. Open the trash bin, and check to see if all deleted e-mails are there.
  2. Restore an e-mail from the trash bin.
  3. Choose an e-mail from the trash bin, permanently delete it, then check to see if the process worked.

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Best Practices for Creating Test Scenarios

Keep these best practices firmly in mind when you create test scenarios, and you can’t go wrong.

  • Test scenarios should be correct.
  • Test scenarios should be easy to understand.
  • Test scenarios should cover both positive and negative situations.
  • If a single test scenario must accommodate multiple requirements, ensure that each requirement is checked in isolation beforehand. Otherwise, it’s possible to overlook certain functions.
  • For simplicity’s sake, create only one test scenario dedicated to a single requirement or user story.
  • Prioritize your test scenarios based on what the customer prefers if the number of test scenarios is too big or too expensive to run.

The Role of Real Devices in Test Scenarios

The whole point of test scenarios is to see how different elements of an application function under actual user conditions. Real-life users run most software and applications on real devices, as opposed to using emulators or simulators.

Therefore, real devices are a must, with no exceptions. Furthermore, not only must test scenarios be run on real devices but they should also be run on the latest devices and older, legacy systems. After all, not everyone has the funds (or interest) to use the most up-to-date machine, so there's a strong likelihood that the device used to run the app in question could be a few years old, maybe even more!

Remember, testing tells us, “That’s a nice piece of software you designed; let’s see how it holds up to reality.”

Presenting a Test Scenario Template

Here’s a basic representation of a test scenario template. The actual form may vary depending on what the testers are doing. We’ve filled in the first entry for illustrative purposes.

Use Story ID#

Test Scenario ID #

Version Number

Test Scenario

Number of Test Cases

Importance

USID42.1

TSID42.1

POW2.0

What happens when a user types the wrong password?

2

High

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About the Author

John TerraJohn Terra

John Terra lives in Nashua, New Hampshire and has been writing freelance since 1986. Besides his volume of work in the gaming industry, he has written articles for Inc.Magazine and Computer Shopper, as well as software reviews for ZDNet. More recently, he has done extensive work as a professional blogger. His hobbies include running, gaming, and consuming craft beers. His refrigerator is Wi-Fi compliant.

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