Test Case Prioritization

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7 Jan, 2021


One of the most prominent and essential processes of the software development life-cycle is conducting software testing. It is undoubtedly the most important factor in determining the quality of the product, the revenue it earns, and user satisfaction. Service and quality excellence are the key success factors, especially for the software business development domain. That is why organizations are bound to conduct software testing and invest efforts in it, to make sure that their developed software products are fulfilling the end-user requirements and expectations. With the help of testing, the pool of defects, or errors in the products and apps can be detected easily, based on which software functionality or performance can be improved.

A successful software testing process is incomplete without the properly arranged or prioritized test cases. This is why it’s essential to manage the test cases effectively. It is important to prioritize the test cases in order to ensure effective management. Many firms under the software development domain implement the use of test case management software in this regard that proves to be very helpful and also lessens the burden of testing for manual testers. 

In this article, you’ll get to know in detail about the test case prioritization. So, let’s get started;

What do we mean by Test Prioritization?

The term “Test prioritization” refers to one of the most challenging tasks of software testing that allows testers to manage risks, plan tests, consider cost values, and analyze the tests to be run in the context of a particular project. This process of managing, scheduling, and listing the test cases as per their priority levels are also known as test case prioritization. Test prioritization is the extension of software testing. This process is important to decide which of the test cases will run first as per their priority levels. With the help of test case prioritization, testers and developers will be able to minimize the time and cost of the software testing phase and will easily ensure that the delivered product is of exceptional quality. 

In addition, the prioritization of test cases helps in conducting successful regression testing and improve its performance. In this way, testers are able to run test cases easily that have the highest priority and provide an insight into the defects and faults earlier in the test life cycle. In addition, the fault detection rate is improved during the test phase, and the system under test can be fed back faster. Moreover, unlike other methods, the prioritization of test cases makes software engineers able to rectify all the important errors or defects detected earlier. 

Key considerations with respect to Test case prioritization

One of the most foremost elements of software testing is the prioritization of test cases. With the help of it, testers are able to run the top-notch priority test cases that further aid testers in resolving crucial issues as soon as they arise. But testers need to be aware of various factors while prioritizing the test cases. 

These factors ensure that the correct tests are performed in the proper order and that all differences are detected during the test. Some of the key considerations when determining the priority of test cases are:

  • The usage frequency of a function or the probability of a failure must be considered.
  • The risks of failure of test cases must be measured.
  • Prioritization of test cases can also be done from the perspective of the system architecture.
  • Areas suspected of complications in the coding and ones with a history of issues. 

Favors of test case prioritization for testing teams and organizations

Whether your concern is to cut costs or to save time for the testing teams, prioritizing test cases would never let you repent. Some of the prominent favors that test case prioritization provides are:

  • Overall regression testing performance can be improved.
  • A list of test cases that will help testers to observe, detect, and fix maximum defects timely.
  • This process makes sure that the test cases with high priority get executed in the software development life-cycle. 
  • Detecting errors earlier in the software development life-cycle is always a hot topic. Thanks to the test case prioritization, the challenge of defect detection in a limited time is no longer a problem. 

Approaches to effectively prioritize test cases

Prioritizing test cases is not as easy as it seems. It requires a particular skill set, expertise, and technical knowledge of testers. Some of the world’s famous software engineers use various approaches to prioritize the test cases effectively that are mentioned below:

  • Prioritization with respect to the average rate of faults detected.
  • Prioritization with respect to fault severity i.e the impact of a fault on users
  • Prioritization in case of regression testing.

The critical side of test case prioritization

Test case prioritization not only comes up with a variety of benefits for the testing team and organizations but it also poses some challenges that testers may encounter. Consequently, the whole process becomes more time-consuming and costly. Below is a list of challenges:

  • With test case prioritization, detecting change and affected parts of the program can become challenging for the team
  • Effectively prioritizing test cases requires scalability to handle complicated issues
  • Seamless integration into the development process is also a challenge for the QA team

Wrap up Note

Undoubtedly, test case prioritization is one of the best ways to make sure that the product quality is up to the market and users’ standards. It is the best method to schedule and list down the test cases from high-level priority to low-level priority. This method is best at resolving errors or mistakes timely as it allows the detection of defects earlier. It is important to thoroughly know the benefits, challenges and techniques of prioritizing test cases to reap maximum benefits from it. This way you’ll end up prioritizing your test cases successfully. 

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About the author

Rubab is a marketer-turned-content writer, passionate about how storytelling and targeted messaging create business changing content. With hands on experience in writing blog posts on Information Technology trends and news. As a Content Executive for an IT firm, she is responsible for creating well-researched blog posts that would help the firm, increase its awareness, online traffic and reach. When she isn’t working, you’ll find Rubab reading novels of her favorite author and doing English poetry.

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