Checklist-based Testing

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Checklist-based testing is an experience-based test technique that uses a high-level, generalized list of items to be noted, checked, or remembered or a set of rules or criteria against which a test object has to be verified.

Table of Contents

  1. How to build a Checklist
  2. Checklist-based Testing Template
  3. Test Coverage
  4. Types of Defects
  5. Benefits of Checklist-based Testing
  6. Limitations of Checklist-based Testing
  7. Video Tutorial

How to build a Checklist

The checklist can be developed based on the tester's experience, understanding of the user's requirements, or knowledge of common software failures.

For example, an application can be tested using a user interface standard checklist, or In Agile software development, a checklist can be created from the acceptance criteria for a user story.

During checklist-based testing, testers design, implement and execute tests that cover the test conditions identified in the checklist. Testers use the checklist to perform tests systematically, following each step and documenting the results.

During the analysis phase, testers may create a new checklist or expand an existing one. However, in some cases, testers may use an existing checklist without any modification.

Checklist-based Testing Template

There is no standard template for creating a checklist, it generally includes the following elements:

S.NTest Condition / Acceptance Criteria Test OutcomeComment
1Verify user is able to login successfullyPass / Fail 

Test Coverage

To determine the coverage of checklist-based testing, the number of tested items should be divided by the total number of items in the checklist. The resulting value is expressed as a percentage, indicating the extent of coverage achieved during testing.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of checklist-based testing is directly related to the quality of the checklist itself. However, since checklists are typically high-level, the results may vary depending on the expertise and experience of the test analyst who executes the checklist. Thus, the proficiency of the tester in following the checklist systematically and comprehensively will significantly impact the quality and coverage of the testing process.

Types of Defects

In checklist-based testing, typical defects are those that arise due to variations in data, sequence of steps, or workflow during the testing process.

Benefits of Checklist-based Testing

Checklist-based testing offers several benefits for software testing projects, including

  • Suitable for Agile: Checklists are ideal for projects where software is frequently released and updated. They provide a high-level overview of the testing requirements and enable testers to conduct thorough tests quickly.
  • Less Documentation: Checklist-based testing requires less documentation than other testing approaches, as detailed steps are not necessary. This makes checklists low maintenance and easily adaptable to multiple similar releases, providing a degree of consistency across testing efforts.
  • Compliment other techniques:  Checklists can be used for any test level. Also, checklists can be created to support various test types, including functional, non-functional testing, and change-related testing. 

Limitations of Checklist-based Testing

Despite the benefits of checklist-based testing, it also has its limitations that need to be considered.

  • Difficult to reproduce test: The high-level nature of checklists can affect the reproducibility of test results. As different testers interpret the checklist items differently, the results may vary, making it difficult to reproduce the tests and achieve consistent results.
  • Test Coverage Variation: the variability in the testing process can result in different coverage levels being achieved by other testers, leading to overconfidence in the coverage level achieved.
  • Checklist Maintenance: checklist maintenance can be challenging, as the checklist may need to be updated frequently to ensure it covers the essential aspects of the software under test.
  • Experience Required: Checklist-based testing requires a skilled and experienced test team familiar with the software under test or the area covered by the checklist to ensure comprehensive testing coverage. Because checklists lack the detailed steps commonly found in test cases and test procedures, the tester's knowledge and experience are crucial to fill the gaps appropriately.