Task: Identify Test Ideas
This task describes how to identify the relevant test ideas for each combination of test motivators and target test items.
Disciplines: Test

The purpose of this task is to:

  • Identify the test ideas that should be explored to assess acceptable quality of the Target Test Items
  • Identify a sufficient number of ideas to adequately validate Target Test Items against Test Motivators.
Identify relevant Test Motivators and Target Test Items
Purpose:  To understand the key motivators that are driving the test effort for the current iteration and consider how they relate to one or more Target Test Items. 

Using the Iteration Test Plan, review the Test Motivators. Motivation may come from one of any number of sources: an individual work product, a set of work products, an event or activity, or the absence of any of these things. Sources might include: Risk List, Change Requests, Use Cases, other Requirements work products, UML Models etc.

It is insufficient for a Test-Ideas List to contain a single entry that refers to validating a single source requirement. That should certainly be one entry on the list, but a a well-formed Test-Ideas List attempts to advise about quality for a given Target Test Item on many other dimensions in addition to validating compliance with specification.

Examine relevant available Test-Idea Catalogs
Purpose:  To jump-start the identification of tests by utilizing existing proven test ideas. 

Use any available Test-Idea Catalogs or other established guidelines to identify initial ideas for the tests.

Brainstorm additional Test Ideas
Purpose:  To generate additional test ideas . 

Encourage other test team members to contribute additional test ideas-Consider doing this informally over a "brown bag" lunch. To stimulate the session, you might read selected excerpts from testing journals, published books or relevant mail from test community mail lists.

While this is a generally a useful thing to do, it's especially useful and important in situations where there are no existing Test-Idea Catalogs to reference. See the "More Information" section in the header table of this page for further guidelines on brainstorming and idea reduction.

List candidate Test Ideas
Purpose:  To select from the appropriate candidates for inclusion in the Test-Ideas List. 

For each combination of Test Motivator and Target Test Item, List the Test Ideas that are potential candidates.

Refine the Test-Ideas List
Purpose:  To make further revisions and improvements. 

It's worth getting a broader sampling of feedback. Show your list to interested development staff, customer representatives and other stakeholders who might have further ideas to add.

At this stage it's generally better to have too many ideas than too few. Simply refine the list by adding any additional entries, and remove any entries that are obviously duplicates.

Maintain traceability relationships
Purpose:  To enable impact analysis and assessment reporting to be performed on the traced items. 

Using the Traceability requirements outlined in the Test Plan, update the traceability relationships as required.

Evaluate and verify your results
Purpose:  To verify that the task has been completed appropriately and that the resulting work products are acceptable. 

Now that you have completed the work, it is beneficial to verify that the work was of sufficient value, and that you did not simply consume vast quantities of paper. You should evaluate whether your work is of appropriate quality, and that it is complete enough to be useful to those team members who will make subsequent use of it as input to their work. Where possible, use the checklists provided in RUP to verify that quality and completeness are "good enough".

Have the people performing the downstream tasks that rely on your work as input take part in reviewing your interim work. Do this while you still have time available to take action to address their concerns. You should also evaluate your work against the key input work products to make sure you have represented them accurately and sufficiently. It may be useful to have the author of the input work product review your work on this basis.

Try to remember that that RUP is an iterative delivery process and that in many cases work products evolve over time. As such, it is not usually necessary-and is often counterproductive-to fully-form a work product that will only be partially used or will not be used at all in immediately subsequent work. This is because there is a high probability that the situation surrounding the work product will change-and the assumptions made when the work product was created proven incorrect-before the work product is used, resulting in wasted effort and costly rework. Also avoid the trap of spending too many cycles on presentation to the detriment of content value. In project environments where presentation has importance and economic value as a project deliverable, you might want to consider using an administrative resource to perform presentation tasks.

More Information