Test Plan is a document that summarizes the strategy that will be used to verify the software requirement. It contains guidelines for the testing process such as the objective, approach, testing tasks, environment needs, resources, estimation, schedule, and strategy.
It actually describes the scope of testing, testing techniques that will be used, resources required for testing, and the schedule of test activities. The scope helps in identifying test items and the features to be tested. It basically covers all the testing phases in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
A test plan is written by a test member or test lead who understands the functionality and working of the system well. The format of the test plan document may vary with the type of product and the organizations.
Benefits of Test Plan
- It is the reference for the testing process. It directs the testing approach and describes the testing practices to be followed.
- It contains details of the testing scope which prevents the team from putting any extra efforts in testing ‘Out of scope’ functionalities.
- It helps to determine the time and effort required for testing the product.
- It clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of every team member.
- It provides a schedule for testing activities. Hence, it provides a baseline schedule to control and track the team’s testing progress.
- It outlines the resource requirements and equipment needs which are essential to carry out the testing process.
- It can be shared with the client to give them insight into the testing process and gain their confidence.
Test Plan Guidelines
Test Plan creation is the most important task in the testing process. Below steps are followed to create a test plan:
Product analysis – The first step towards creating a test plan is to analyze the product, its features, and functionalities to gain a deeper understanding. Explore the business requirements and what the client wants to achieve from the end product. Understand the users and use cases to develop the ability to test the product from the user’s point of view. What the system is intended to do? Use? how will it work? are defined in this step.
Design test strategy – This is the most important task while creating the test plan. The test strategy document is a high-level document that is usually developed by the test manager. The document covers the systems testing objectives and the roadmap to achieve them by determining testing costs and efforts. It can be composed of several testing techniques. Keeping the use cases and business requirements into consideration, testing techniques are decided.
The document should include the following steps:
- Defining the scope of the test
- Identifying the testing type
- Document risks and issues
- Test Execution Process
- Creating test logistics.
Define testing objectives – Defining the test objectives is the ultimate goal of achieving the test executions. The main goal of testing is to find as many software bugs as possible, to ensure that the software is free from all the critical bugs. To define and document test objective, need to follow 2 steps;
- List down all the features and functionality of the system including its performance and user interface.
- Identify the target or the end result based on the above features.
Outline test criteria – The test criteria are a rule or a standard on which the test procedure is based. 2 types of test criteria need to be resolved:
- Suspension Criteria: Here the critical suspension criteria for a test are specified. When the suspension criteria are met, the active test cycle is suspended.
- Exit Criteria: Exit criteria specify the successful completion of a test phase.
Planning resources – Planning resources are having a detailed summary of all the resources required to execute the project. Resources can include people, hardware and software resources, or any other materials to be used. It is indeed an important activity as it specifies all the resources that will be required to run the project successfully. This will help to make a correct schedule and define accurate estimations needed to run the project.
Define test environment – It defines hardware, software, or any environmental requirement for testing. The plan should identify what test equipment is already present and what needs to be procured.
Estimates and Schedule – Along with the estimates calculated to perform all the activities of each level, the schedule is created by assigning dates to testing activities. This schedule made should be matched with the development schedule to make a realistic test plan.
Decides test deliverables – Test deliverables consist of all the documents, components, and tools that have been developed in support of the various testing efforts is delivered.