Good testing needs proper preparation. Think before you test, is the adage. Therefore, before starting to execute dynamic tests, tests have to be designed first. The starting point for test design is the test basis that usually consists of requirement specifications, such as user stories. But in some cases, little or no documentation is available, and the test basis must be gathered by interviewing people or observing a business process.
From the test basis, the team member(s) in the role of tester derive and create test situations, test cases and test data. The team members involved, group the test cases in test scenarios and create test scripts for automated test execution.
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Remark: in this section, everywhere where the term "tester" is used, this is in the sense of a DevOps team member that has the role of tester, any team member can act as a tester.
Test design is usually done in parallel with the system development activities so that the test scenarios and test scripts are ready when the system is deployed to be tested.
Test design is the complex of activities to create test situations, test cases, test data, test scenarios and test scripts. Read more.
We use the term test design to refer to both structured testing using coverage-based testing techniques, and to less structured testing using experience-based testing approaches such as exploratory testing. Even in exploratory testing some test design activities are performed, the testers do not create an entire set of test cases upfront; they just design one or few test cases and immediately execute them.
In coverage-based testing, the team will apply test design techniques to be able to have an efficient process of test design. This will result in an effective set of test cases of which the coverage can be demonstrated and explained so that the quality risks will be adequately mitigated. The selection of the right test design technique(s) is key, the team can use their own specific test intensity table to guide them in this selection.