I've been searching through Google about the difference between a checklist and a test scenario and didn't get the answer yet.

It's kind of frustrating because I keep finding different information about this. So if anyone know and might be able to explain this clearly to me.

  • Maybe you can give us some examples of that what frustrates or confuses you? Links to articles or definitions? Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 9:55
  • things that frustrates me is i couldn't found any articles about the difference between them. ):
    – Mega S
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 10:10

3 Answers 3


As with all terminology it differs per person, team, company and or industry. To be sure ask with the people you are communication what it means to them.


A checklist is a list of items you need to check-off to achieve a certain goal. It could be a todo-list or a release quality checklist. A checklist could contain test-cases to verify.

A checklist is a type of informational job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task


I would use checklists when I need to repeat the same steps over and over, for example a checklist to check the production environment after a release.

Test Scenario:

A scenario is a postulated sequence of events. I would say different think you want to test in a workflow.

A Test Scenario is any functionality that can be tested. It is also called Test Condition or Test Possibility. As a tester, you may put yourself in the end user’s shoes and figure out the real-world scenarios and use cases of the Application Under Test.


I would use scenarios to describe the test workflows or idea's to test when creating specific test-cases.

  • test workflows means the AUT right? so which one the prior that i should make first? Thank you for the answer.
    – Mega S
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 10:14
  • No UAT is something a client could do if they want to accept a new release. I would start with a highlevel-testplan which describes how and why you want to test things. Personally I always start with mapping the full Software Development Life Cycle and mapping quality touchpoints. But this is a bit out of scope of your original question. I would suggest to ask more questions and we can see if we can answer them. Reading a general book about testing might also help to get you started. Hopefully your company works a bit Agile, I would start with this book: agiletester.ca/agile-testing Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 10:47

Test scenario is a higher-level concept. It is a description of an activity involving the tested system, its expected behavior etc. Wikipedia actually has a good article on scenarios.

Checklist is a tool (a good one :), nothing more. It is a list of items to be be checked or not. Sometimes supposed to be walked sequentially, but not always. Sequentially following a defined checklist might be one way how to actually test a scenario, but it is neither a universally most common, best or even always required. There are many ways how to test a scenario which won't involve any checklist.

Be vary though, testing terminology is notoriously chaotic in the wild. Different organization might assign more specific or even different meanings to these terms.

  • Thank you for the answer, So in my condition.. im the first QA in this company that would implement testing documentation here. Before me they even didn't do any test documentation. So, if i can answe one more time. Which one i should be the prior?? Test Scenario or Checklist?
    – Mega S
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 10:12

A Checklist is a list of items to be verified at the end of a sprint, release, or some kinda of milestone. Checklists are typically very straightforward checks to ensure that your testing is complete and robust. Ex. Think of a checklist like Agile's definition of 'Done-Done Criteria'

A test scenario, is a kinda of use case that includes a list of test steps which are each independently verifiability that relate to the specific scenario. A test scenario should, where possible, include a user persona. Ex. As a Manager, I expect X to occur when Y is in place = Test Scenario; Step 1, 2, 3, etc are checkpoints that relate to verifying the functionality expectation.

@mega, being the first person in the company, I would identify the high-level Checklist items first as this can act as your foundation for implementing an overall quality strategy. Then I would start focusing on test scenarios but really you need both.

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