Continuous deployment is pushing deployment cycles faster than ever, but QA teams often lack the efficiency and focus to keep pace with continuous deployment. Knowing what to test before releasing a product ensures that quality stays high and customers stay happy, yet 33% of QA engineers stated in a recent survey that identifying the right areas to focus testing is a major challenge for their QA teams.

Building a checklist of must-run functional and regression tests for your product can help give you the peace of mind that each deployment will go smoothly. Here are the first few steps you’ll need to take if you’re ready to start developing your core functional test case checklist.

Use Product Requirements as Your Starting Point

Knowing exactly where to start when deciding what to test for your particular application can be daunting. If you have product requirements or user stories at the ready, you have the perfect launchpad for building your testing checklist. Do your users rely on certain browsers or devices? Include testing your application across all relevant browsers and devices on your checklist. Will your users prefer using Facebook to create an account? Testing social integrations will be a necessity.

Keep Functional Test Cases Small and Focused

When when time or resources are limited, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to test too many things at once. Limiting the length and scope of your tests not only helps keep you organized, but saves time by allowing you to pinpoint where issues are occurring more quickly. For example, if you want to test whether a new customer can successfully make a purchase on your website, you should consider writing a separate tests for logging in, adding items to a cart, and checking out. Isolating test failures and understanding where things are breaking down is much easier when tests stay small and focused.

Design Test Cases to Simulate Common Activity Flows

While ad hoc exploratory testing, stress testing and security testing are important components of any testing strategy, the focus of your functional test cases should be to emulate common use cases, rather than attempt to push your application to extremes. Your essential functional tests should focus on confirming that the application functions correctly. Focus on building a list of all common activity flows for your application and creating tests to cover those flows, from filling out forms to uploading and downloading files successfully.