In the context of software testing, what is the difference between the following:

  1. Deviation from normal workflow
  2. Unexpected results
  3. Incorrect results
  • 2
    They are similar. Why are you asking, what is the impetus behind your question. Questions comparing similar terms don't add much value to me and usually imply a different question behind them Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 13:22
  • 2
    What is your goal? This feels to me like XY question: You are asking X, because you think X is causing your real problem Y. Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


1 - An behavior not anticipated by the team, which may or may not reflect that something wrong happened.

Imagine that during a six-page form filling process, the page pops an alert with only a OK button and the following message "Click OK to Continue". The users clicks on it and follows his life normally. No error happens, but the workflow is unexpected.

2 - A result not anticipated by the team, which may or may not be an error.

Imagine that the team's domain knowledge says that a calculation only can result in positive numbers, but you get a negative number in the app logs. After investigation, you realize that your knowledge is wrong and the calculation is correct.

3 - An error, simply put. Something wrong happened.

  • Thank you dear for your good answer. I have another question, is it necessary to assign critical severities the defect causes a deviation from normal workflow. Example: If a requirement mentions that system should allow the user to select a parcel and edit its attributes. The selected parcel should be highlighted. Now user click on parcel to select it, but it is not highlighted although user is able to make edit to the parcel Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 14:53
  • 3
    @user3584259 If you found this answer to satisfy your question, you should accept it (with your green checkmark.) If you have another question, you should ask a new question. =) Thanks!
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 17:57

I am not sure about your question - what do you mean by "normal workflow"? But it looks like you want to learn testing basics. You may want to check what ISTQB foundation level can offer:

"1.1.2 Causes of Software Defects

A human being can make an error (mistake), which produces a defect (fault, bug) in the program code, or in a document. If a defect in code is executed, the system may fail to do what it should do (or do something it shouldn’t), causing a failure. Defects in software, systems or documents may result in failures, but not all defects do so."

Source: https://www.istqb.org/downloads/syllabi/foundation-level-syllabus.html


Deviation from normal workflow - This might positively happen when the application needs other elements in the flow without disturbing the major functionality (obviously if client approves) - Deviation from normal workflow is not necessarily the bug in application - Ex., Normal Workflow: User gets acknowledgment SMS on application submission. Deviated one: User gets acknowledgment SMS and email notification on account submission. This is not issue but still normal flow is deviated

Unexpected results - This happens when anticipated result/the one in srs doc is not happening - Depending on the degree of deviation from SRS and it's effect in other uis/functionality, this is either accepted positively (again with client approval) or considered as an issue - Ex., When you expect the result of calculation to be blank but you get as 'undefined' which might be correct or incorrect depending on the effect of that calculated result in application

Incorrect results - Incorrect results are always the issue in application - Small or big, defects are logged and normal bug cycle happens

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