STARWEST 2008: The Case Against Test Cases

James Bach, Satisfice, Inc.

A test case is a kind of container. You already know that counting the containers in a supermarket would tell you little about the value of the food they contain. So, why do we count test cases executed as a measure of testing's value? The impact and value a test case actually has varies greatly from one to the next. In many cases, the percentage of test cases passing or failing reveals nothing about the reliability or quality of the software under test. Managers and other non-testers love test cases because they provide the illusion of both control and value for money spent. However, that doesn't mean testers have to go along with the deceit. James Bach stopped managing testing using test cases long ago and switched to test activities, test sessions, risk areas, and coverage areas to measure the value of his testing. Join James as he explains how you can make the switch-and why you should.

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