Blog: The Test Case Is Not The Test

A test case is not a test.

A recipe is not cooking. An itinerary is not a trip. A score is not a musical performance, and a file of PowerPoint slides is not a conference talk.

All of the former things are artifacts; explicit representations. The latter things are human performances.

When the former things are used without tacit knowledge and skill, the performance is unlikely to go well. And with tacit knowledge and skill, the artifacts are not central, and may not be necessary at all.

The test case is not the test. The test is what you think and what you do. The test case may have a role, but you, the tester, are at the centre of your testing.

Further reading:

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9 responses to “The Test Case Is Not The Test”

  1. Vijay says:

    Test case is a noun, test is a verb.

    Test case is the means, test is the objective.

    A test case is a recipe used by the tester(chef) to test(cook).

    Test case is the script; tester is the actor; test is an act.

    A tester can test without a test script.

    The most important of all three is the tester, as the test is as good as the tester.

  2. […] post was triggered by thoughts following on from a Michael Bolton tweet and blog postĀ making analogies to explain that test cases are not […]

  3. […] The Test Case is Not the Test […]

  4. Absolutly right! … and nobody wrote in test case: “Now you should galumphing for 1 hour to find some bugs” šŸ™‚

  5. Exactly. And likewise, “How many recipes do you have” doesn’t tell us anything about your cooking skill.

  6. Marius Francu says:

    It’s a sacrilege to say something against them or be placed in a different light. Somehow this emphasis on test cases is encouraged by tools also, for example TFS. It seems that some pseudo-managers are won over by the simplicity of this management, meaning testing by just counting test cases.

  7. […] • ?????????-???????????: test case – ??? ?? ????. […]

  8. […] • ?????????-???????????: test case – ??? ?? ????. […]

  9. […] of steps (and because of that it can’t be done by a machine – more about that later). A test case is not a test. At best, it is a test guide or idea. There is no way a “test case” could ever be […]

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