Use Cases and Testing Scenarios

Today I want to talk about use cases and testing scenarios.  As a business analyst, it is important to identify, explain, and gather realistic testing data for all scenarios.  While the Quality Assurance team is responsible for the majority of the testing, it is the responsibility of the business analyst to ensure that the testing team has accurate data and knows how to test the information accurately.

Let’s look at a trading scenario as an example.  Most people understand the concept that if you buy 20 shares at $5 per share with a $7 commission, the total is $107.  But there are many different types of trades that occur on a daily basis like short sales.  A short sale is calculated differently and can be very confusing for those who don’t work with it on a regular basis. The business analyst must ask the users for specific examples and step by step instructions as to how to specifically test those items so he and the QA team can test accurately.   That includes gathering the formulas and accurate examples.

What do I mean by accurate examples?  Simple, in the trading scenario, I want to know if the numbers I am using are accurate.  I have never run into a situation where the business didn’t want to teach or give me specific information that I needed.  Simply because by asking for this specific information they understand that I am trying to make the best product possible.

I think it is important to point out here, that when the more complex the calculation or scenario, the more important it is for the business to be directly involved.  For example, in the financial industry, there are many different specialties and certifications, people in these fields have been trained and had specific classes to know the intricacies of their field.  It is NOT the responsibility of the business analyst or quality assurance team to know all of these intricacies.  It IS the responsibility of the business analyst to learn and ask questions so testing can be done as completely as possible.  I like to think that the business analyst and quality assurance team can or should be able to completely test 90% of the items but the business needs to be responsible for the remainder.  That is why you have user acceptance testing.


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