Most of the test cases I still see today try to describe in painstaking detail the steps on how to run the test. That’s what I call nitpicking to stay within the boundaries of political correctness.
Here is how you bake a mud cake. These are the ingredients; this is the order you need to put them in the bowl; stir and cook in 180 degrees for 25 minutes. The expected result is a chocolatey delight.
Of course, I am not saying that nitpicking is at all boring. But, when we try to do business, nitpicking is diverting effort and attention to entirely wrong things.
The primary goal of a test case is not to describe HOW to run this specific test. That kind of recipe would be more suitable for a demo session for example. Or in a user manual for people who have no clue about how to use the software in the first place and don’t have the guts to try it out.
But regarding professional software testing, it ends up being annoying nitpicking with the details. It’s easy to lose the big picture that way.
Instead of traditional chocolate cake recipes, professional testing could well do with only a short description of WHAT needs to get tested.
Relating that information with but a sentence would be easy. In fact, Twitter has proven that we can say most things with only 140 characters. And even that wouldn’t be necessary for real testing pros.
Sometimes the most outstanding results emerge from an empty sheet, a tabula rasa someone fancy would say.
It’s not rocket science. You just gain more bang for your buck when you have the daring to let those testing professionals do their work the way they should.