What is a Test Plan?
A Test Plan is a critical and exhaustive document that outlines the strategies, goals, timeline, estimations, deadlines, and resources needed for the successful completion of a project. It provides a framework that is designed by QA managers to provide clarity about the necessary tests that you need to verify to ensure the proper functioning of the software.
Why is Test Plan creation important?
Did you know according to the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) software failures cost the US economy about USD 59.5 billion annually or about 0.6% of the GDP (gross domestic product).
You can eliminate 1/3 of the cost with improved testing infrastructure and planning. Even though it may not be able to eliminate all errors cannot be eliminated through.
- Reduction in defects: Identify and mitigate defects early on in the software lifecycle.
- Improved quality: Studies indicate that projects equipped with thorough test plans generally experience reduced development and maintenance expenses. Identifying and addressing issues in the early stages is more economical compared to dealing with them after the software release.
- Resource utilization: Data indicates that the presence of a test plan facilitates improved planning and allocation of resources, averting bottlenecks and ensuring the efficient execution of testing activities.
- Faster time to market: The implementation of effective testing strategies specified in the plan plays a role in streamlining the development process. This leads to quicker time to market.
- Mitigate risks: A well structured plan helps in identifying risks earlier in the process. These can be cross-collaborative risks as well as risks that are internal to the team.
Who needs Test Planning?
Test plan is an important artifact which, when well drafted, can act as an anchor for the product development process. However, these personas benefit more from its creation.
- Developers, who get insights into the testing scope and requirements. This helps them anticipate the tests that will be executed on their code and understand the success criteria for testing.
- QAs, who create and execute test cases to find bugs and document them. Test planning helps them establish testing strategies, allocate resources, and track the overall advancement of the testing process. Test Plan functions as a roadmap for carrying out test cases, monitoring test advancement, and guaranteeing thorough coverage.
- Product Managers, who use test plans to make informed decisions about release timelines, resource allocation, and overall product quality. It helps them coordinate release activities, assess customer impact, and foster effective collaboration between development and testing teams to deliver high-quality software.
- Business Analysts, who ensure all the test cases are well aligned with the business requirements specs at every stage, keeping users’ interests in mind. Through test planning, they get a clear vision of the relevance of test cases with current user requirements.
- Compliance Teams, ensure that the testing procedures conform to predefined standards as per regulatory demands.
- Support Teams, who communicate with users about known issues, provide timely solutions and offer guidance on workarounds. Test Plans help them anticipate potential issues or bugs that have been identified during the testing phase and figure out their workarounds to help users.
Difference between Test Strategy and Test Plan
A test strategy is a high-level outline that provides an approach and framework for testing. A test plan is a detailed document that provides guidance around specific test activities, scope, deliverables, and resource projections for the project.
Here’s a detailed comparison of Test Strategy vs Test Plan:
|Comprehensive details regarding testing goals, levels, categories, outputs, timetable, resources, roles, duties, risk management, and criteria for completion.
|General details concerning testing goals, levels, categories, tools, defect management, and the overarching testing strategy.
|Thorough, encompassing all aspects of the testing process for a particular project or application.
|Extensive, furnishing a structure for testing tasks spanning numerous projects or applications.
|Testing team members, testing managers, developers, project managers, and additional stakeholders engaged in the particular project.
|Managers overseeing projects, testing managers, and individuals making decisions requiring a summary of the overarching testing strategy.
|More specific, concentrating on the implementation of testing tasks within a designated project or application.
|Less intricate, providing a broad viewpoint and directing the development of detailed test plans.
|Usually generated subsequent to the test strategy, outlining precise schedules for testing stages and tasks.
|Developed at the outset of the project lifecycle, furnishing an outline before in-depth test planning.
|Prone to modifications throughout the project as additional detailed information is acquired or if project requirements undergo changes.
|Typically steady and undergoes infrequent alterations unless there are substantial shifts in project scope or objectives.
Components of a Test Plan
A test plan usually comprises various elements that offer in-depth details regarding the testing procedures for a particular software application or system.
The essential components of a test plan include:
- Scope: Outlines the goals of the specific project and provides information about user scenarios intended for testing purposes. The scope may also specify scenarios or issues that will not be addressed by the project if required.
- Schedule: Specifies the commencement dates and deadlines for testers to provide outcomes.
- Resource Allocation: Specifies the allocation of specific tests to individual testers.
- Environment: Describes the characteristics, setup, and accessibility of the test environment.
- Tools: Specifies the tools that will be employed for testing, reporting bugs, and other pertinent activities.
- Defect Management: Outlines the procedure for reporting bugs, including the designated recipients and the required accompanying elements for each bug report. This may include specifications such as whether bugs should be reported with screenshots, textual logs, or videos demonstrating their occurrence in the code.
- Risk Management: Specifies potential risks that could arise during the testing of the software and the risks the software might face if released without adequate testing.
- Exit Parameters: Specifies the cessation point for testing activities. This section delineates anticipated outcomes from QA operations, providing testers with a standard against which they can measure actual results.
How to create a Test Plan?
When you use test management software, you get an organized view of your test cases and clarity of steps for execution. With BrowserStack Test Management, you get an added advantage of not just defining your test cases, but also directly monitoring and running your tests using the configurations of devices and operating systems.
Best Practices for creating an effective Test Plan
Some of the key best practices for creating effective test plan are:
- Understand project requirements and map to test cases.
- Clearly state the objectives of the testing effort.
- Clearly define the scope of testing, outlining which features and functionalities will be tested.
- Document the expected deliverables of the testing process.
- Define the test environment, detailing the hardware, software, and network configurations.
- Identify potential risks associated with the testing process and the project.
- Create a detailed testing schedule with milestones and deadlines.
- Create a realistic and achievable testing schedule.
- Maintain flexibility to tweak the plan, if required.
- Include scope for retrospection and avoid pitfalls in the future.
- Define key metrics to be collected during testing.
- Conduct retrospectives to identify areas for improvement in the testing process.
Test planning in software testing is the backbone of the entire project. Without a sufficiently extensive and well-crafted plan, QAs are bound to get confused with vague, undefined goals and deadlines. This unnecessarily hinders fast and accurate testing, slowing results and delaying release cycles.
BrowserStack Test Management lets you manage the creation of test cases, importing test cases, syncing with bug tracking software, and running tests across devices, operating systems, and browsers through a unified interface.
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