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What is The Test Plan in software Testing (From A-Z)


One of the most fundamental ideas in software testing is the creation of a test plan. But as more efficient life cycle processes like Agile and DevOps have emerged, the importance of creating test plans and other types of test documentation has frequently been downplayed or completely disregarded. This is unfortunate because a test plan has a lot of value and can help all projects, regardless of lifecycle, greatly. Testers and test managers frequently make statements like, “We don’t do test plans because we are Agile,” or, “We don’t have time for test plans.” In actuality, a test plan is a useful tool to make sure the proper resources are available to fulfill the test objectives, regardless of the lifecycle approach. Test charters are used to outline the focus of a period of testing, as well as to specify who will perform the tests and how much time will be allotted to the testing effort, even in test techniques like exploratory testing.

Every endeavour in life and business requires planning. For instance, a bank won’t give a business a loan if it doesn’t have a business plan. A company’s efforts to attract new clients will be unfocused and unguided without a marketing strategy. Any project without a plan will disintegrate into chaos. But for some reason, test planning is undervalued when it comes to testing. Remember that an unrepeated test plan is of little use. If you take the time slowly and effort to create a test plan, stick to it while updating it as necessary but don’t let it slip your mind. Any plan will inevitably need to be modified once the work begins, as is common knowledge. Instead of scrapping the plan, the solution is to modify it to fit the current circumstance. This is particularly valid for test plans.


What is a Test Plan in Software Testing?

A test plan in software testing is a kind of detailed document that includes every single detail and description in comprehensive fashion. Starting with the test strategy and continuing on through establishing objectives, scheduling, and resource estimation, and so on and so forth! A test plan will cover everything from the scope of the investigation to the methodology that must be considered as well as the test activities that must be taken into account. To put it another way, it’s more along the lines of a plan for carrying out the tests. And finally, the purpose of all of this work is, ultimately, to ensure that the developed software will function in accordance with the needs and requirements that have been predefined.

A test plan, in your opinion, is it rigid? Obviously not! Today, software testing should be taken into account in addition to software development. This implies that the dynamic documentation also evolves as the development process does. And several test activities are being conducted and carried out while keeping these details in mind.

So the question is, does the test plan get discussed between quality assurance testers, software developers, and software testers? Of course not! It is accessible to everyone involved in the project, including Business Analysts, Project Managers, Development Teams, and anyone else who is connected to the endeavour in any way. In the following passages, I will elaborate on a few points concerning an examination agenda.

  • It’s a thorough document used to conduct effective software testing.
  • Business analysts, development teams, and other specialists in the field can all access the document.
  • The QA team develops the test plan with their input.
  • While a test plan tends to be fairly static, it does have the ability to be updated as needed.
  • The project will be more successful the more thorough the test plan is.

Test Planning Activities:

  • to decide what needs to be tested and what shouldn’t be tested in terms of scope and risks.
  • Documenting Test Strategy.
  • confirming the inclusion of the testing activities.
  • deciding on criteria for entry and exit.
  • assessing the test estimate
  • Organizing the testing process, choosing the evaluation criteria for the test results, and defining the test exit criteria.
  • the test artefacts made available as a result of testing.
  • defining management information, such as necessary metrics, defect resolution, and risk issues.
  • ensuring that repeatable test assets are generated by the test documentation.

Types of Test Plans in Software Testing 

  1. Master Test Plan 

A document that provides a comprehensive overview of the planning and management of testing at multiple test levels, the master test plan, can be described as follows: It offers a bird’s-eye view of the significant decisions that were made, the strategies that were implemented, and the testing efforts that were made for the project. The list of tests that need to be performed is included in the comprehensive test plan. Test coverage, connections between different test levels and associated code tasks, test execution strategies, and so on are all examples of important test-related topics.

  1. Test Phase Plan 

The level test plan provides a comprehensive breakdown of the testing protocols that, depending on the circumstances, must be adhered to for each test level or test type. In most cases, additional information regarding the levels that are listed in the master testing plan is included in the level test plan. They would provide the testing schedule, benchmarks, activities, and templates, in addition to other information that is not included in the master plan.

  1. Specific Test Plans 

preparations for the execution of specific tests, such as those to evaluate performance and security. For example, performance testing is a type of software testing that is performed with the intention of determining how a system reacts and performs when subjected to a particular load. The purpose of security testing, which is a subset of software testing, is to determine whether or not a system is vulnerable to attack and whether or not its data and resources are protected from potential intruders.

Objectives of Software Test Plan 

  • It gives a general idea of where to begin and end the work.
  • to be exact about the quantity of resources required to complete the task. 
  • A timeline based on the hours and personnel required.
  • It is completely finished, down to the last detail, just like a prototype.
  • to develop the specific work that needs to be done for the project’s modules.
  • It acts as a manual for adhering to regulations as the project is completed stage by stage.
  • It will help in analysing the project’s difficulties and finding solutions.
  • All stakeholder interactions will be organised and taken into account.

Test Plan Elements for Software Testing

  1. Resource Allocation: Which tester will work on which test is determined by this component.
  2. Training Needs: The test planner should outline the personnel and expertise levels needed to complete test-related tasks. Any specialized training required to finish a task should be mentioned as well.
  3. Scheduling: Task durations should be calculated and recorded using a task networking tool. Set up, monitor, and plan test milestones.
  4. Tools: describes the tools used for testing, reporting issues, and other relevant tasks.
  5. Risk management: explains the risks that might occur while testing software as well as the issues that the software itself might experience if it is released with insufficient testing.
  6. Approach: This section of the test plan covers all the issues and problems that need to be resolved when testing the target programme.

How to write a test plan

If you want to learn how to write a test plan, consider the following steps:

  1. Research and analyze the software

Studying the software and conducting research on the kinds of people who are most likely to make use of it should come before the process of developing a test plan. This can reveal how the end user intends to interact with the product, which can help you determine the functionalities that the team will be able to test. It is also helpful to consider the client’s requirements and expectations for the finished product. This will allow you to incorporate the client’s requirements and expectations into the test plan.

  1. Design a test strategy

A test strategy outlines the testing objectives, the methods that can be used to accomplish those objectives, and the total cost of the testing. To ensure that you are evaluating the appropriate components, the first step in this process is to determine which kind of testing is appropriate for the product or feature that the team intends to evaluate. In the process of developing software, there are many different kinds of testing, such as unit testing, system testing, and Agile testing. In spite of the fact that various types of software tests evaluate various aspects of the programme, the overarching goal of these tests is the same: to identify and resolve programming issues before the programme is delivered to the end user.

  1. Outline the goals.

In many cases, the plan for the test will include a list of goals for the team. You will be able to define the overall goal, also known as the testing scope, of the testing method that your team intends to use in this section of your test plan. You can also determine which parts of the software the team plans to test in order to achieve that objective if you use this method. Writers of test plans frequently use the term “in scope” to refer to the features of the software that are going to be tested. On the other hand, they may use the term “out of scope” to refer to any component that the author of the plan decides not to test. Your team will be able to concentrate on evaluating the most important features if you communicate the testing scope to them. This will make the testing process easier.

  1. Describe the test criteria

The test criteria serve as the standard you use to evaluate the testing results. There are two main methods you may use to determine the criteria for your test, which are:

  • Criteria for suspension: Using criteria for suspension, you are able to establish a standard for when your team will suspend testing. For illustration’s sake, let’s say you’re testing a video game and you decide to set the value of your suspension criteria at 50%. If this is the case, then your team intends to pause testing if more than half of the game’s components are deemed unplayable.
  • Exit criteria: Your team has the ability to use exit criteria in order to determine the standard for the successfully completed phases of testing. For instance, you might decide to use a standard of 95% accuracy, which indicates that the team intends to terminate testing as soon as the software functions with 95% accuracy.
  1. Plan a test environment

The hardware and software that teams make use of to carry out tests are both components of the test environment. You can begin the process of planning your test environment by identifying the test equipment that is currently available. You can also determine the tools that your team might get before beginning the testing process by using the information that you have. At this stage, it is beneficial to have a conversation about the software with the team responsible for its development in order to gain a better understanding of the software and how to test it effectively. Instead of communicating over the phone or through email, you might want to think about speaking directly with the software developers or engineers. This can ensure that you have a solid understanding of the physical requirements you want the software to meet in order to make it easier for the end user to successfully operate the software.

  1. Establish a schedule.

In this section of your test plan, you will be able to break the testing down into individual tasks and make an educated guess about how much time each member of the team will need to finish each task. When developing a timetable, it is important to take into account a variety of factors, including the work schedules of employees, the due dates of projects, and the potential dangers that may arise. Only then can you ensure that your expectations are reasonable. The management team of the company will be better able to monitor the progress of the testing, allot the necessary resources, and keep costs within the projected budget if they take this step.

  1. Identify the deliverables.

Documents that are created by teams prior to, during, and after testing are referred to as test deliverables. For instance, the test plan is a document that you can write before conducting the test in order to assist your team in comprehending the objectives as well as the criteria for passing the test. Your team may write a test script and collect test data as part of the testing process in order to evaluate the components that were outlined in the test plan. Following the completion of testing, it is standard practice for teams to compile a report that outlines the test results for managers, clients, or other stakeholders to review. You will now be able to decide what data you want to collect and how you want to compile it. You will do this in this step.

Advantages of Creating a Test Plan

Guide to Testing

The fact that a test plan can be used as a straightforward guide is undoubtedly one of its most obvious advantages. In this section, the strategies are being evaluated, and the guide provides information regarding the testing practises that need to be taken into account. Every one of the difficulties can be effectively overcome. The test plan provides responses to all of the questions on the examination in advance. Everything from the scope to checking to see if all of the test items are present or not, deciding on the items’ test/pass criteria, and what is required for a successful venture are all discussed in this section.

Change can be managed.

Using a test plan provides a number of benefits, one of which is the ease with which changes can be managed. You have to realise that every project develops in some way, and that circumstances are subject to ongoing change. Test plans are pretty adaptable. In addition, these plans can be modified, and major checkpoints can ensure that everything remains in line with the ongoing project’s objectives and requirements.

A test plan is one of the best ways to communicate with your teammate, which is especially important if you want to share every single detail with them. This is something that everyone involved in the process needs to keep in mind. I am referring to members of the project team, as well as people from the testing and development teams, stakeholders, and so on. In fact, these individuals are able to evaluate, review, and provide any necessary corrections when called for. Additionally, it is likely to be of some interest to you to learn that the test plan is primarily made up of all of the pertinent information based on the human resource calendar, estimated budget, schedule, software and hardware requirements, risk, and potential unforeseen events.

Eliminate Pointless Activities

Having a test plan allows you to avoid unnecessary testing, which is yet another significant benefit of developing one. Sometimes, we have a propensity to focus on prevention so intently that we frequently lose track of the distinction between what is required and what is not!

What happens if the implementation of some of the features is shoddy? If this is the case, then putting effort and time into testing would be completely pointless. Keep in mind that the testing procedure relies on a test plan in order to stay on track. After all, this one features a testing scope, features, and functionalities that are exceptionally high. Not to mention that testing teams are no longer required to test functionalities that are considered to be “Out of scope.”

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Test Plan 

#1. Who Is in Charge of Making a Test Plan?

Your project’s testing procedure should be outlined in detail in a document known as the test plan. Before putting an application into production, this document, which is prepared by the lead or manager, outlines the steps to take in order to locate and fix any errors that may have been introduced.

#2. What Function Does a Tester Play in a Test Plan?

The duties of a tester change depending on the kind of product they are evaluating, but in general, they consist of things like installing or updating programmes with different configurations until errors occur; ensuring that all components work together without any hiccups so that customers can take full advantage of their purchases; conducting diagnostic tests in advance of the product’s release date in order to identify any potential issues in advance, rather than waiting until the release date has passed and the product has already been damaged by being available to the public; and so on.

#3. What Information Should a Test Plan Documentation Include?

Every single software developer needs to have a document that contains a test plan. The plans include not only the guidelines, tasks, and schedules that are necessary to finish the testing procedure, but also the resources and the environment that will be used to finish it.

#4. Could you describe the stages of testing that should be included in a test plan?

If your product is able to pass each of these four stages without experiencing any problems, then you can rest assured that the pre-launch testing that you conducted was thorough. What each one does is as follows: Unit tests ensure that individual components work together successfully. Integration tests “kick the tyres” on how well different parts interact with each other and see whether they conflict with each other or not. System testing is for making sure that everything works as promised in theory (i.e., checking to verify technical specifications). Acceptance testing ensures that every team member understands their role during this process so that nothing falls through the cracks when it’s crunch time.

#5. Do a test strategy and a test plan differ in any way?

What is the key distinction between a test plan and a test strategy? The following are some examples of the differences: A test strategy documents the various approaches that can be taken when testing software.

  • serve as a directive that specifies test execution requirements and explains test design.
  • It is unchangeable.
  • It can be applied to numerous projects and is configured at the organizational level.

A test plan offers detailed instructions on how to carry out your tests.

  • serve as a document outlining the goals, strategy, and emphasis of the testing effort.
  • The strategy is flexible.
  • The project level is where it is defined.

#6. Could You Please Explain What the STLC (Software Testing Life Cycle) Is?

A software system’s product quality is improved through a process known as the Software Testing Life Cycle, or STLC. It consists of seven phases, including the necessary data gathering and analysis, completion planning, designing testing options based on requirements, and design choices to produce tests that will quickly find bugs while still being able to cover every aspect of the codebase.

  • Implementation phase: writing unit tests.
  • Execution phase: automating checks against new builds as soon as they become available to help you find problems early, when there is less work to be done to fix them.
  • reviewing the results from earlier cycle steps and incorporating the closure plans for subsequent cycles.

To Conclude

Without a doubt, testing products before releasing them to the general public is important because it ensures product quality and customer satisfaction. You need one of these if you want to test products successfully and have a clear process in place.

Depending on your needs, a high-level or low-level test plan may be helpful. Although it is a necessary evil, product testing need not be tiresome. The future of product development may be made simpler and more productive by developing an actionable strategy.


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