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The Value of a Good System Test Plan and Test Scenarios

Sheila Dooley | 06 November 2019

Today’s Warehouse Execution Systems (WES), and even some Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), boast broad capabilities when it comes to integrating with various types of material handling systems. As distribution centers become more automated with varying levels of automation, a well thought-out and formal test plan and test scenarios can help conquer these increasingly complex systems.

Test plan

Before you start writing any test scenarios, you need a testing plan.  Your plan needs to identify the testing phases, a description of each testing phase, what resources are needed to participate (both lead and support roles), location of where the testing will take place and the timing/duration within the project.

  • The description details the scope of testing in that phase.  Is it a standalone test or integrated with other components of the solution?
  • Resources identified include the people and any physical item requirements like test product, box sizes, etc.
  • Location indicates whether the testing will be remote, in a conference room or out on the warehouse floor with the automation
  • Timing and duration for each phase provides input to the overall Gantt and helps identify any required milestones and dependencies

Test scenarios

Scenarios are where you need to dig into the details and combinations of situations and data that users of the system will experience.  You need to think critically and methodically to cover the many possible variations of both happy path scenarios and any exceptions which can be identified.

  1. All test scenarios should be created against a specification.  If you don’t have a clear definition of requirements how can you test, and how can you be sure the solution delivers what is needed?
  2. Test scenarios should include:
    1. a test number
    2. a title
    3. a description
    4. any prerequisites and assumptions,
    5. type of data to be used
    6. exact test steps
    7. expected results
    8. verification of expected results
    9. logging of tester, date tested and pass/fail input

and ideally, test scenarios are reusable though phases of testing and in the future if changes are made to help with regression testing needs

  1. Test scenarios should be written to ensure the reader easily understands them and can begin executing the scenarios.

Overall, planned testing helps to ensure all bugs are found, and are much more detailed than ad-hoc testing. Projects with well-planned testing phases and scenarios will cost less in the long run, and have better on-time success rates. Successful testing will lead to higher deployment quality and higher levels of customer and employee satisfaction.

Author: Sheila Dooley

As a Business Analyst for Bastian Solutions, I work as part of the sales team for our software division working with prospects and customers to understand their software requirements. Prior to joining Bastian, I worked as a project manager for a consulting firm helping customers in a variety of industries with warehouse management system requirements documentation and implementation.


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