Testing Checklists: that is what a tester needs to know!

From this material, you will learn what checklists are and why they are needed. Also, how to make them and when they should be used. We will also talk about their advantages and disadvantages.

What is a checklist?

Checklist – a list containing a number of necessary checks for any work.

The importance of checklists is hard to overestimate. No matter how experienced an employee is, in a hurry they can easily forget an important detail.

In testing, a checklist is a list of checks for testing a product. The checklists are very simple. Any of them contains a list of blocks, sections, pages, and other elements that should be tested, for example:

Completed items are marked with statuses. For example: “Passed”, “Failed”, “Blocked’”, “Skipped”’, “Not run”. These statuses can also have their own color:

Advantages of using checklists:

  • They can improve the understanding of the system as a whole, to see the status of its readiness;
  • They can understand the amount of work done and upcoming testing work;
  • They allow the tester to not repeat self in the tests and do not miss anything important in the testing process.

Types of checklists

There are two types of checklists: special and universal.

Special checklists are created and used for specific projects, so the items in such a checklist correspond to the specifics of the project. The tester uses a special checklist to check whether it is possible to perform a unique action provided for by the requirements. Here are examples of special checklist items:

  • when the tester hover over the menu item “Products”, the color should change to blue. The pointer should change shape to pointer;
  • if the user has opened the “Your Cart ” page and there is at least one product in the cart, a notification should be displayed.

Such checklists are not suitable for use on other projects.

Universal checklists are suitable for testing projects of the same type. The universal checklist check is not tied to graphical elements or a specific implementation, but rather checks the user’s ability to perform an action. For a universal checklist, an abstract list of checks is compiled. The items of the universal checklist can be as follows:

  • the user can go to the “Products” section”;
  • the payment must be made;
  • the product must be added to the cart;
  • hover links are underlined;
  • the layout validator shows no errors, etc.

Universal checklists can be reused on projects of the same type. Many agencies have such universal checklists, which determine the overall level of product quality

How to create working checklists

To create a working checklist, the tester should pay attention to these recommendations:

  1. One item = one check. The minimum complete operation performed by the tester during verification is one item of the checklist:
  2. The tester should rely on the requirements when drawing up a checklist, so as not to test something that is not essential.
  3. Let’s give to all team members the items in the checklist names in a form that is common, so that working with the checklist does not cause ambiguous interpretations. You can agree to use only infinitive verbs or nouns in all paragraphs: “check”/ “add”/ “send” or “check”/ “send” / “add”.
  4. Detail the checklist depending on the task.
  5. Combine the checklists into matrices, where testers can reflect not only the checks themselves, but also the conditions of the check (platform, product version, employee, etc.) and the status of the check. Matrices are a compromise between checklists and test cases. They are easier to maintain than test cases, since there are no steps in such a table. They have one line = one check:

Advantages and disadvantages of checklists


  • the checklist is easy to read;
  • quickly test the checklist: in the test case, you need to mark the status of each step, while in the checklist, just one line is enough;
  • the checklist is a source of results for the report: you can quickly count how many checks were performed, and what their status is, and find out the number of open reports;
  • at any time, you can find out the status — there is always something to check first, you can order the items on the checklist or change the order when required.


  • test set uncertainty: each tester performs the checklist item in their own way;
  • uncertainty of test data;
  • insufficient delatilization;
  • it is more difficult to train novice employees: the checklist items are more often abstracted from specific interface elements and describe what needs to be done;
  • the checklist is less effective for novice testers, it is better to use test cases.

Checklists are best used in the early stages, when the software is changing rapidly, because test cases are expensive to maintain.


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