Planning is one of main activities of software testing. Depending on formality of our test process, we have to create detailed test plans with strict template or simple check list on a paper. In any case, we must remember that planning is an endless activity. At least we have to plan for the whole project life cycle. We can’t create a test plan at the begin of the project, print it and have a successful test process. Test plan must be corrected and updated at every turn.
Why is planning so important?
- At first, it helps us take into account all conditions and not forget anything. Test plan creation supposes decomposition of main object into small tasks. We structure information and understand goals better.
- At second, we can select the most important things and reserve resources. When we see tasks list, we can sort them by priorities. Estimations of small tasks are always more precise than estimation of the whole object.
- And at third, we can explain to managers our work and discuss with them our test process. If we have a document describing our plans, we can coordinate the plans and change them in good time.
To draw your test plans, you can use standard templates (IEEE 829-1998, RUP) or own template developed in compliance with demands of your company. Value of test plan doesn’t depend on template but on information contained in it.
What must the test plan contain without fail?
I have read many hints about test plan creation. Each author says something of their own. IEEE template consists of 16 chapters on 9 pages, RUP one – of 6 chapters on 22 pages. If you look closely, you will see that everyone describes the same in different way.
In my opinion, a test plan should contain:
- Test object (system, application, hardware)
- Features to be tested
- Features not to be tested (with reasons explaining this)
- Test strategy (how we will solve assigned tasks)
- Efforts on testing
Test plan can contain various information but this information must be useful for you and other project participants. So there’s no universal recipe of test plan. Each project is unique and test plan must correspond to the project.