Tuesday, 19 March 2013

What Is a Test Plan?

What Is a Test Plan?

A test plan refers to a document that describes the scope, resource, schedule and approach of the projected testing activities.

The test plan identifies the test items, features that need to be tester, the tasks that need to be carried out, the designated person who would perform each of these tasks as well as any risks that may be require contingency planning. In terms of software testing, test plans provide detailed information about the forthcoming testing efforts.

These include:

The scope of testing
Test Schedule
Test Deliverables
Contingencies and Risks
Release Criteria

Test plan can also be considered to be the detailed document describing how the process of testing would proceed, who would perform the testing, what are the things that would be tested, how much time it would require to complete the testing process and the quality level to which the testing would be performed. Due to its importance, it is a frequently asked testing interview question in most IT related job interviews.

Creating Test Plans

In the earliest phases of deployment planning, it is the job of the testing team to develop a test plan. This plan defines the scope and objective of all testing efforts as well as identifies the tools, software and hardware that are required for performing the testing. It also specifies the functions and features that would be tested during the process. An all-inclusive test plan also contains information about any potential risk factors that may jeopardize the process of testing.

In case the testing team has been divided into several technology sub-teams, then each of the sub-teams would be responsible for developing a test plan for the specific technology area pertaining to that particular team. For instance, the networking team is required to prepare a test plan related to the testing networking features. Each member of the respective sub-team must review and approve the test plan of that particular team before it can be integrated into the main test plan.

Types of Test Plan

There are a variety of different types of test plans. These include:

Master Test Plan: This is a unified advanced test plan that brings together all the test plans for any particular project / product.

Test Plans for Specific Testing Levels: There are different test plans for each of the levels of the testing process. These include:

• Unit Testing Plan
• System Testing Plan
• Integration Testing Plan
• Acceptance Testing Plan

Test Plans for Specific Testing Types: There are a variety of test plans for the major kinds of testing such as Security Test Plan and Performance Test Plan.

Template for Test Plan

The content and format of any test plan varies greatly depending on the standards, processes as well as test management tools that are being used in the process of testing.

Author: David Vilson
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