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How to Write a Good Test Plan in Software Testing?

Last updated on Jul 13,2020 13.2K Views

The software testing process is a crucial stage in the development of a solid and powerful application. Documentation plays a critical role in achieving effective software testing. It makes the testing process easy and organized, also saves company money and time spent on that software project. With proper documentation it is easy for the client to review the software process. In this article, we will discuss a type of software documentation, test plan in software testing.

Listed below are the topics covered in this article:

Is Documentation Needed in Software Testing?

Yes! It is. Documentation plays a critical role in software testing. Here’s an example to convince you, people.

A company, let’s call it ‘XYZ’, delivered a project (with an unknown issue) to one of its clients. And they found the issue at the client-side, which created a very bad situation for the company. Like always all blame was on Quality Analysts(QAs).

The issue was something regarding the compatibility of one website. The issue was presented to higher authorities, they showed the client a written proof of not receiving any such requirement asking to check the compatibility of the website. So, the issue was resolved peacefully. In a way, the documented requirements saved the company from getting sued. This example shows just how important documentation really is. It can make or break a project. So, testing should be fully documented to provide efficient resource control, monitoring, and allocation. Some commonly applied documentation artifacts associated with software testing are:

  • Test Plan
  • Test Case
  • Test Scenario
  • Traceability Matrix

Moving further with this article on ‘Test Plan in Software Testing’ let’s learn more about test plan in particular.

What is Test Plan in Software Testing?

A test plan in software testing is a document which outlines the what, when, how, who, and more of a testing project. It contains the details of what the scope of testing is, what the test items are, who will do which testing task, what the items test/pass criteria will be, and what is needed to set up the test environment and much more.

Test Plan - Test Plan in Software Testing - Edureka

Planning is the first step of the software testing process. A test plan document outlines the planning for the entire test process. It has the guidelines for the testing process such as approach, testing tasks, environment needs, resource requirements, schedule, and constraints. It explains the full process of what you’re going to do to put the software through its paces, in a step-by-step format. In software testing project, when you have a plan in place, chances are it will go smoother. But, why is it required to write a test plan?

What are the Benefits of Test Plan?

Value of writing a test plan is tremendous. It offers a lot of benefits like:

  • It serves as a roadmap to the testing process to ensure your testing project is successful and helps you control risk.
  • Proper test plan provides a schedule for testing activities, so, you can have a rough estimate of time and effort needed to complete the software project
  • It clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of every team member, outlines the resource requirements which are essential to carry out the testing process
  • Planning and a test plan encourages better communication with other project team members, testers, peers, managers, and other stakeholders
  • Helps people outside the test team such as developers, business managers, customers properly understand the details of testing

Even though performing smoke testing has a lot of advantages, testers may choose not to write one, arguing, for reasons like time, challenge and redundancy constraints.

So, what happens when one doesn’t have a test plan?

  • Scope of testing will not be properly defined
  • There will be a misunderstanding about roles and responsibilities and this could lead to important tasks left undone
  • Test team will not have clear test objectives, without which  critical and essential system characteristics will not be adequately tested
  • Test team will not be aware of when the test process ends, which will compromise the quality, functionality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the software

So, it’s unquestionable that writing a test plan has a lot of pros than cons. Now you already know that making a test plan is the most important task of Test Management Process. So how do you write a test plan in software testing?

How to Write a Good Test Plan?

You can follow these 6 steps to device an efficient test plan:

Step1: Analyze the test product

It’s not possible to test a product without any information about it. So, the first step towards creating a test plan is to analyze the product, its features, and functionalities. You need to have a proper understanding of user requirements and expectations. Here are the three simple steps to get a deep understanding of the project.

AnalyseProduct - Test Plan in Software Testing - Edureka

Step2: Develop Test Strategy

Once you have analyzed the product, you should design a test strategy which can assist you in defining the scope of testing. Test strategy can be composed of several testing techniques. Keeping the user requirements in mind you should decide on which technique to use. For example, if you are building a website which has thousands of online users, you will include ‘Load Testing’ in your test plan. Defining a test strategy also include four more steps like shown below.

TestStrategy - Test Plan in Software Testing - Edureka

Step3: Define Objectives

The objective of any software project is to release a high-quality bug-free software product to market on time. So, as a part of a test plan, you need to clearly define the testing scope and its boundaries. You could just follow these two simple steps to define test objectives:

  • List all the software features which may need testing

  • Define the target of testing, based on features listed previously

Step4: Resource Planning

The resource plan is basically a detailed summary of all types of resources required to complete the project task. The resources here could be human, equipment and materials needed to complete a project. It is an important step which helps you determine the number of resources to be used for the project.

Step5: Develop a Schedule

With the knowledge of testing strategy and scope in hand, your next step is to develop a schedule for testing. Creating a schedule helps you control the progress of the testing process. While drawing up a schedule, you should consider factors like:

  • Project estimate
  • Project risk estimate
  • Resource estimate
  • Employee roles & responsibilities
  • Test activity deadlines

Step6: Determine Test Deliverables

The last step is to prepare detailed test deliverables document. It is a list of all the documents, tools and other components that have to be developed and maintained in support of the testing effort. There are different test deliverables at every phase of the software development lifecycle like shown below.

Deliverables - Test Plan in Software Testing - Edureka

Well, you can follow these simple steps to prepare a test plan. With that said, what do you actually include in the plan? Different people may come up with different sections to be included in a test plan. But who will decide what is the right format?

Test Plan Template

IEEE, an international institution that defines standards and template documents which are globally recognized. It has defined the IEEE 829 standard for system and software documentation. This IEEE 829 standard specifies the format of a set of documents that are required in each stage of the software and system testing. The table below lists out the test plan parameters according to the IEEE 829 standard test plan template.

Test Plan Identifier
Uniquely identifies the test plan & may include the version number
Sets objectives, scope, goals, resource & budget constraints
Test Items
Lists the systems and subsystems which are to be tested
Features to be Tested
All the features & functionalities to be tested are listed here
Features not to be Tested
Lists the features of the software product that need not be tested
Has sources of test data, inputs and outputs, testing priorities
Item pass/fail
Describes a success criteria for evaluating the test results
Suspension Criteria
Has criteria that may result in suspending testing activities
Test Deliverables
Includes test cases, sample data, test report, issue log
Testing Tasks
Describes dependencies between tasks & resources needed
Environmental Needs
Lists software, hardware or other testing requirements
Lists roles and responsibilities assigned to the testing team
Staffing Needs
Describes the additional training needs for the staff
Details on when the testing activities will take place are listed
 Lists overall risk of the project as it pertains to testing
Contains signature of approval from stakeholders

To conclude I would say, test plan is a guidebook for the testing process and is vital to keep the entire testing process on the right track. If you have a solid plan and test plan document in place, chances are the testing process will go smoother. This brings us to the end of this article. Hope the things that you have learned here today will help you as you head out on your software testing journey.

If you found this “Test Plan in Software Testing” article relevant, check out the live-online Selenium Certification Training by Edureka, a trusted online learning company with a network of more than 250,000 satisfied learners spread across the globe. 

Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section of this ‘Test Plan in Software Testing’ article and we will get back to you.

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How to Write a Good Test Plan in Software Testing?