Software development is more than just developing a system with desired functions. In the software industry, requirements are volatile and keep on changing from time to time. With fewer resources, shorter iterations are demanded while maintaining the high quality of the product. Hence developing a test plan that outlines the objective, resources, estimation, schedule and strategy is a must.
The test plan is a blueprint which specifies the software testing activities as a defined process which is monitored from time to time and controlled by the test managers. A test plan is written by a test member who understands the functionality and working of the system well, and each test case is submitted for review by seniors.
Importance of test plans
Test plan helps us understand and determine the effort required to validate the system and quality of the application under various tests. The test plan document also helps other developers and business managers to understand the details of the tests. It acts as a rulebook that guides us and allows us to follow the standards. The management team can review and re-use the plan for test estimation, scope, test strategy etc.
So how do we go about creating the test plan for any software? Let’s discuss step-by-step the process by following the eight steps below:
Let us dive deep into each step.
Can you create a test plan without any information about the software and its products? The answer is NO. Studying the requirements and analysing the system is necessary even before you start creating the plan.
You should be researching about the client, its end users, their needs and expectations and what the product should deliver. Ask yourself these questions when you analyze,
– What is the system intended to be?
– What is its use?
– Who and how will it work?
– What will be the development requirements?
If in-case you or the team is unclear about any requirement of the system, you can interview the client and its concerned people and get more detailed information.
This is the most important task while creating the test plan. The test strategy document is a high-level document which is usually developed by the test manager. The document covers the systems testing objectives and the roadmap to achieve them by determining testing cost and efforts.
The document should include the following steps:
– Defining the scope of the test
– Identifying the testing type
– Document risks and issues
– Creating test logistics.
Defining the test objectives should be 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 bugs. To interpret and document test objective, you will need to follow 2 steps;
1. List down all the features and functionality of the system including its performance and user interface.
2. Identify the target or the end result based on the above features.
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:
1. Suspension Criteria: Here you specify the critical suspension criteria for a test. When the suspension criteria are met, the active test cycle is suspended.
2. Exit Criteria: Exit criteria specify a successful completion of a test phase.
As the name suggests, planning resources are the task of having a detailed summary of all the resources required to execute the project. Resources can include anything from people, hardware and software resources, or any other materials to be used.
Resource planning is indeed important as it specifies all the resources that will be required to run the project successfully. This will help the test manager to make a correct schedule and define accurate estimations needed to run the project.
The test environment is nothing but the combination of hardware and software on which the test team is going to execute the test cases. The test environment is a real-time instance that includes the user and the physical environment which includes servers and front-end interface.
In the test environment phase, the test manager has already used techniques to come to the conclusion of estimating the project. Now along with the estimate its necessary you bind to the schedule of test planning.
Many IT firms break down the development into small tasks and add estimation of each task. Also, to have a proper estimation to execute test cases, the test manager needs various inputs like employee and project deadline, project estimation, and project risk.
Finally, the test deliverables consist of all the documents, components and tools that have been developed in support of the various testing efforts carried out by the team. Many times, the manager decides to give the deliverables at specified intervals of the development.
The test deliverables include plan documents, design specifications, simulators, error and execution logs, installation and test procedures etc.
The above steps for creating a test plan may differ depending on the project requirements and scope. Remember, your company should come up with its own set of guidelines and procedures while conducting test procedures. Now sit back and that a breath of relief. Get started on your testing work!