Who Should Design Test Cases: Developers or QA Testers?

Who Should Design Test Cases: Developers or QA Testers?

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

In many organizations, especially those transitioning to agile methodologies, the division of responsibilities between developers and QA testers can become a point of contention. A common question arises: Is it the developer’s responsibility to design test cases, or should this task fall to the QA team? This guide aims to provide clarity on this issue by exploring different perspectives and practical examples.

Understanding Different Roles

The roles of developers and QA testers are inherently different, though both are essential to delivering high-quality software. Developers are primarily responsible for writing and maintaining code, including unit and integration tests. QA testers, on the other hand, take a more holistic approach, focusing on system and end-to-end testing to ensure the software works as intended from a user’s perspective.

Why Should QA Design Test Cases?

One of the key reasons QA should design test cases is the principle of independence. Developers, being deeply involved in the code, might overlook certain issues. QA testers bring a fresh perspective, aiming to break the system and uncover faults that developers might miss.

  • QA testers conduct system and integration testing, using the application like an end user.
  • They think of tests that developers might not consider, aiming to break the system.
  • QA’s independence helps in identifying issues that developers might overlook.

Collaborative Approach: Checks and Balances

In some organizations, a collaborative approach is adopted, involving multiple stakeholders such as business analysts, developers, and QA testers. This ensures a balanced process where each party brings their expertise to the table.

  • Business analysts understand customer needs and write story requirements.
  • Developers write code and initial tests (unit, integration).
  • QA testers ensure all parts work together and follow the process.

In this setup, the developer should not write test cases independently, as unchecked power could lead to undetected issues. Instead, business analysts often create test cases, which QA refines and executes.

Measuring Success and Adjusting Policies

Every organization is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. A practical approach to determining the best policy is to measure success through experimentation and iteration:

  1. Decide on how to measure success.
  2. Choose a policy (e.g., dev writes test cases, QA writes test cases, both write test cases).
  3. Measure the effectiveness of the policy.
  4. Adjust the policy based on the results.

Who Owns the Knowledge?

Instead of focusing solely on who performs the task, consider who should retain the knowledge about it. For example:

  • If requirements are set by external sources (e.g., financial regulators), the test team should maintain knowledge of these regulations.
  • If testing internal functionalities, developers might be better suited to write tests, as they understand the context.
  • If creating similar products, the test team may be better at maintaining knowledge of common issues and preparing test cases accordingly.

Enhancing Your QA Process with Repeato

Regardless of who designs the test cases, having the right tools can significantly enhance the QA process. Repeato is a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android that helps create, run, and maintain automated tests efficiently. Leveraging computer vision and AI, Repeato allows for rapid test editing and execution, making it an excellent solution for quality assurance teams looking to streamline their testing process.

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