The first step is to create a Feature Map. A Feature Map highlights all of your main areas for testing at a very high level. For examples going forward I have decided to write test cases for a generic web browser so that you can easily follow along.
For my team, I have found that group test case writing has been very successful. We met as a team and first came up with the main areas of testing.
For a web browser your Feature Map may look something like this.
Mind Maps are a great way to brainstorm your ideas and are very visual. With some work your team can come up with a good set of main features. You will notice ideas start flowing more naturally, which will lead to more test cases and therefore better coverage.
Next I have had success with dividing up the main nodes into individual Area Maps. In this case we would have maps for Setup, Options, Bookmarks, History, Controls and Window. Split the work among the team and have each take one Area (an Area being a group of common test cases) to start expanding and writing test cases.
A tester may go off and create a map for Bookmarks such as shown here.
I suggest printing this map off or display on a projector for your team to discuss. Get everyone up to talk about the test cases and find out what is missing.
There is one map created per Area. If you find a map is getting too large, split it into sub maps. Think of User Stories in Agile. Sometimes we have to split them up to make them easier to manage. The same concept applies to Area Maps.
Next post will talk about test case execution and how to report on results. Again, this is at a very high level at the moment. We will go into more details about formatting, priorities, how to include detailed information, etc at a later point.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is something you want me to cover. The more, the better :) I want to learn just as much as you do.