Scenario testing

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Scenario testing is a software testing activity that uses scenarios: hypothetical stories to help the tester work through a complex problem or test system. The ideal scenario test is a credible, complex, compelling or motivating story the outcome of which is easy to evaluate.[1] These tests are usually different from test cases in that test cases are single steps whereas scenarios cover a number of steps.[2][3]


Cem Kaner coined the phrase scenario test by October 2003.[1] He commented that one of the most difficult aspects of testing was maintaining step-by-step test cases along with their expected results. His paper attempted to find a way to reduce the re-work of complicated written tests and incorporate the ease of use cases.[1]

A few months later, Hans Buwalda wrote about a similar approach he had been using that he called "soap opera testing". Like television soap operas these tests were both exaggerated in activity and condensed in time.[2] The key to both approaches was to avoid step-by-step testing instructions with expected results and instead replaced them with a narrative that gave freedom to the tester while confining the scope of the test.[3]


System scenarios[edit]

In this method only those sets of realistic, user activities that cover several components in the system are used as scenario tests. Development of system scenario can be done using:[citation needed]

  1. Story lines
  2. State transitions
  3. Business verticals
  4. Implementation story from customers

Use-case and role-based scenarios[edit]

In this method the focus is on how a user uses the system with different roles and environment.[4][need quotation to verify]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "An Introduction to Scenario Testing" (PDF). Cem Kaner. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  2. ^ a b Buwalda, Hans (2004). "Soap Opera Testing" (PDF). Better Software. Software Quality Engineering (February 2004): 30–7. Retrieved 2011-11-16.
  3. ^ a b Crispin, Lisa; Gregory, Janet (2009). Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams. Addison-Wesley. pp. 192–5. ISBN 81-317-3068-9.
  4. ^ Gopalaswamy, Srinivasan Desikan. Software Testing:Principles and Practice.