Define Activities – Scenarios, Checklists, and Charters

What does our test scope consist of (Part One), and how will we be creating those deliverables?

  1. Preparation Plan
  2. Test Strategy
  3. Scenarios, Checklists, and Charters
  4. Data
  5. Execution Schedule
  6. Human Resources
  7. Communication
  8. Procurement
  9. Readiness
  10. Test Execution
  11. Close Project or Phase

Scenarios, Checklists, and Charters

There are several parts to determining our test strategy for scenarios, checklists, and charters – what test artefacts do we need, how will they be created, who will create them. Once we’ve determined our strategy, we can determine the activities needed to create those artefacts, confirm the timeframe that they are required by, and identify people to complete them.

Our example test strategy includes multiple test techniques:

  • The bulk of our test execution will be running end to end scenarios. These tend to be confirmatory scenarios, designed to verify that business processes work as required and crossing multiple business workstreams, for example Sales -> Delivery -> Billing. The results of each step in a scenario (the document flow) needs to be passed on to the next workstream to continue;
  • During downtime from end to end testing, our testers can explore the system functionality further using Checklists and Charters. Checklists are defined in advance and include important functionality within one or (max) two process areas, for example we can have a checklist to test each approval level in Procurement. The document flow of each checklist item are self-contained and don’t need to be passed on to another workstream;
  • Charters, put simply, are timeboxed exploratory sessions into single pieces of functionality to learn how they work, what limitations there are, what error messages are generated, and whether any additional controls or changes are required. For example, we can set out a two-hour charter for our warehouse testers to explore in-depth the picking process for different materials, quantities, units of measure, and storage locations. If they know in advance exactly what they want to test then it can be set up as a checklist, but if it’s “learn and test as we go” then we’ll set it up as a charter. The results of each charter are usually self-contained, but may generate additional checklist items or possibly further ideas for end to end scenarios.

Once we’ve identified the people that need to be involved in creating our test artefacts, we need to communicate our requirements to them – what needs to be completed, in what form it should be delivered, and by when. Our scenarios, checklists, and charters will usually be created in “business language” to start with, perhaps as a Word, Excel, or Powerpoint template document. These can then be reviewed by the project’s functional process leads to confirm that the scenarios are in scope for configuration and development and to identify the transactional flow required to achieve the scenario. That transactional flow can then be set up in our test management tool, the scenario can be peer reviewed for correctness, and we can then update our Requirements Traceability Matrix with the test management ID to confirm one point of coverage of the requirement.

Scenarios

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