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I don't focus much on writing hundreds of test cases in any test case management tool. I create my exploratory testing notes which include different test ideas, scenarios, heuristics-based test design ideas, any other ideas, etc.

Why do organisations still want QA engineers to write tons of test cases for manual testing, whereas maintaining test cases is not important... it's just that the most important functionality needs to be tested and all severe defects should be found early before the code hits production.

I don't believe in writing test cases to just showcase to the project management that QA's are doing something.

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  • Welcome to the community! Keep asking real, factual questions and avoid opinion based questions. Additionally try to answer other's question as well. All the best! Feb 28, 2023 at 8:35

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The answer is: it depends!

We don't know the industry or the type of software you are testing and not all software is created or used equally.

whereas maintaining test cases is not important

What's important to you may be different for someone else. While you may not find it important or necessary, others will! And, there are reasons to do so other than to satisfy PMs!

A lot of people like to separate Quality Engineers and Testers into different categories. (Personally, this is unfair as it simplifies the skills and experiences of so many in the Quality and Testing field!) So, depending on which category/job title you have, writing test cases may not be a good fit. It may also not be a good fit based on your own skillset, experiences, knowledge of the role, etc.

Let's break down some different perspectives.

Someone is new to testing: they likely have a high need to write down test cases in order to gain confidence in themselves and confidence from the team to ensure the software is well-tested. A lot of non-testers don't understand the role, so writing down test cases can help them understand the work you are doing and you can help educate them on your role. Others see it as a form of being transparent. If you expect devs and PMs to share requirements and code with you, shouldn't you also be just as transparent about your process, and your test cases with them? If they are not new but learned via this approach, they may find continued value just out of habit.

Someone that processes information differently: People think and organize their thoughts differently. Some do so via speaking and audio, some do so via writing (outlines, detailed plans, etc), and others do all of them. There's no right or wrong way to think or organize your thoughts!

exploratory testing notes which include different test ideas, scenarios, heuristics-based test design ideas, any other ideas, etc

These are all good techniques we all should be aware of and know when to use them and you may be able to only do just that, but not everyone can.

Someone doing test automation: If you prefer or your role calls for a majority of your time automating test cases, one, you may have a need for someone else to write those test cases for you so that you can automate them. Second, if there is no one else but you, you may just prefer to write those test cases in code. Personally, once a test is automated, it really doesn't need to be in a test case management system as the test automation serves that purpose.

Regression testing: regardless of test automation status on the team, having written tests helps speed up the testing process as you don't have to recreate work you've already done! This allows you to organize and categorize test cases by feature, priority, severity/importance.

Audits: Some industries need an audit trail of all work performed. Industries like automotive, aeronautical, medical, and anything involving safety around life/death. Government regulations are also another reason why an audit trail is important here. By having written test cases in a management system, it helps with those audits.

There are certainly more reasons and perspectives than just these! And often, these perspectives overlap; it's not a one size fits all situation.

Remember, software is complex, and how people simplify and organize that complexity will differ.

Personally, I don't like using test case management systems. I prefer the old school "let's just use Excel" way of writing them!

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Short answer is : Detail test-cases writing is equally important as exploratory testing

  • Understand, exploratory testing comes in lateral stages than functional testing. Everywhere we are keen to check at least basic functionality is working first
  • At the start everyone is going to focus on functional testing includes in detail test cases writing
  • While execution test-cases or feature testing assignment is still integral part of software manual testing. This could get more wattage when team is distributed - It is most of the time
  • Managing testing efforts, avoid repetitive testing among QA team, setup process, efficiently backtrace of specific issue, product understanding those might be few purposes for having in details test suites
  • Exploratory testing come when application is getting tested for flows without steps mentioned/designed. Some times interrupted by other common scenario like internet connectivity, server response, mobile call, flight more, system restart, storage capacity etc
  • If we have in detail and well maintain test suite then there will be less tests for exploratory testing
  • Another aspect of exploratory is how end user could experience without knowing the functionality or flow. To ensure that is not too harmful is also important specially in era where every user having mobile on their fingertips and ready to report or review on app store or play store with diff platforms, brands, versions, screen resolutions etc
  • Summerise : Objectives of both functional testing using well written and maintain test-cases/ suite and exploratory testing are different & equally important, one can not replace any other; even if ultimate goal is to have bug free application & identify + fix bug early with minimal impact

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