Working Well with PCT: a Test Design Technique ISTQB Doesn’t Teach You!

Tutorial J     Start Time : 08:30     End Time : 12:30

Talk Abstract:

In my opinion testing conferences should be about … testing. And an important capability of testers is applying test design techniques. That’s what I call “working well”. Most testers know how to (or instinctively do) apply boundary value analysis and some other basic approaches and techniques. But what about some more advanced test design techniques?

This half-day tutorial is dedicated to just one test design technique: The Process Cycle Test. This technique is very useful when testing business processes, for example in an acceptance test. The test cases that you create can be proven to test every path in the business process. Or if you want to achieve better coverage (also called a higher test-depth-level) you can test all combinations of 2 (or 3 or 4) consecutive paths.

It has always surprised me that the ISTQB-world hasn’t picked up on this technique. So, you may never have heard of it before, and yet it’s elegant and after you’ve tried it 3 times (during this tutorial) it’s easy too. And if you’re not testing business processes but you test the paths in a computer program it will please you to hear that the same technique, but now called Algorithm Test, is applicable to program flows.

Is this technique effective and efficient? Yes! One day I was coaching a test team that created their tests “experience based”. They had 32 test cases. With PCT I created 23 test cases and could prove that I had a higher coverage! What test basis do you need? A business process flow chart (or a program flow chart) is all you need.

In this half-day tutorial you’ll experience how to apply the process cycle test to cover paths and combinations of paths and thus make a comprehensive testset that helps you to investigate the quality of a system with just enough test cases. Of course, we’ll start with some simple examples. At the end of the tutorial you’ll be able to create test cases for a life-like business process, so you can apply this technique in you

Participants can participate perfectly without using a computer. However it may be handy to have some computers in the room. So if you think of bringing your laptop please do. If you don’t feel like bringing your laptop then be assured you’ll be able to participate without bringing it.

Key Takeaways:

  1. What is the Process Cycle Test technique and why is it so relevant for acceptance testing?
  2. How are different coverage levels, test-depth-level-1 or -2 or -3, used to vary the intensity of testing?
  3. How do you combine test situations to logical test cases and work these out in detail?


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  • Speaker


    Rik Marselis - Testing expert, Sogeti, Netherlands

    Rik Marselis is a testing expert at Sogeti in the Netherlands. He is a well-appreciated presenter, trainer, author, consultant and coach in the world of testing. His presentations are always appreciated for their liveliness, his ability to keep the talks serious but light, and his use of practical examples with humorous comparisons.

    Rik supported many organizations and people in improving their testing practice by providing useful tools & checklists, practical support and having in-depth discussions. As a fellow of SogetiLabs (Sogeti’s R&D network), Rik researches the testing of intelligent machines (such as chatbots and robots) and how to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to support testing activities.