As a matter of fact, it is possible to create a giant test that would cover all aspects of the software being tested, but there are several reasons why this idea cannot be put in practice. Suppose that this giant test detected at once several defects. When a developer attempts to reproduce one of these defects, what should he do in order to identify the root cause of the problem that has arisen and to eliminate it? Is it possible to run this giant test again? Suppose that by fair means or foul he still managed to fix the malfunction. How can we now verify that the defect has indeed been repaired – to execute the same super-test again? Obviously, this is clearly not the most effective approach.
Therefore, it is best to choose such a structure so that each test can cover a specific part of the functionality of the software product being tested. If such a test fails to run, the developer will easily be able to run the test again and reproduce the defect, then analyze the test results and fix the malfunction. Ideally, the scope of such a test is reduced to the minimum set of actions necessary to detect a malfunction.
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If testing of a software product is based on its technical requirements, then the rule of thumb for determining your testing scope is that there must be at least one test case per each technical requirement. The principle of “at least one test case per one technical requirement” not only allows you to determine the scope and limitations of the test, but also support the development of a test plan. With reliance upon the revision of the list of technical requirements, you can estimate how many new tests will be required to verify a new software product. Once you start creating tests, guided by this principle, you will be able to calculate how long it takes to develop and run the test based on previously obtained results.
Testing done on the basis of technical requirements allows you to organize tests qualitatively. Technical requirements are usually divided into functional groups. Your tests can be organized by the same principle. Tests relating to checking software and hardware of the customer can be combined into one group, as well as installation tests and extensibility tests that are in turn designed to measure the ability of a software product to be extended and the degree of effort needed to implement this extension. Groups of logically connected tests can be included in one test suite.