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Creating a test plan: the basics of software testing

January 15, 2024

You have been asked to test applications within your organization. Or perhaps you yourself are the initiator of a solid testing process. The question now is, where do you start?

Some depth in software testing quickly teaches you that testing is a profession. So you end up with terms like TMap, test process, product risk analysis, test cycle, findings management, etc... So where do you start? We can give several answers to that. Let's focus on an excellent starting point: The test plan.

drawing of a male and female testing software on a big screen.

What is a test plan?

A test plan can be compared to a plan of action prepared by a project manager. First, the purpose of the Test Plan is to describe the testing approach of the program, project, release or change. Second, the test plan describes everything needed to execute that approach: at what time and with what people and resources.

Who draws up the test plan? This is done by the person responsible for the test cycle. Who this is, of course, depends on the situation within the organization. Think for example of the IT manager, the test manager, the test coordinator, the functional administrator or someone else who has ownership of the test project.

What's in a test plan?

The test plan describes, simply put, the why, how, who, what and where of the proposed test cycle. How comprehensive a test plan is depends on the size and complexity of the test cycle. For a large test cycle , the recommendation is to divide the test plan into a master test plan and detail test plan.

A large test cycle often has several test types such as integration test and user acceptance test. The master test plan then covers the entire test cycle and a detailed test plan is created for each test type.

Because every situation is different, it is difficult to speak of a standard template for a test plan. What we indicate below are the basic things described in a test plan: 

  • Rationale; Why are we going to test?
  • Objective; What do we want to achieve with the test cycle?
  • Approach; What will we do and how will we implement it?
  • Required people and time; Who will be testing and what is the schedule?
  • Resources needed; What do we need to implement the plan?
  • Deliverables; When is test cycle accomplished?

It is advisable to review the test plan with the ultimate client of the test cycle. Do not forget the stakeholders such as the product owner, security officer, project manager and quality manager.

Test plan example

It is going too far to discuss a sample test plan in this blog. What is important is that you address the following topics when creating a test plan:

  • Test strategy; Will you test based on a product risk analysis and what risks and opportunities for error do you address?
  • Preconditions and principles.
  • Entry and exit criteria.
  • What test type(s) do you choose; A system test, unit test, acceptance test....
  • What test form(s) do you choose; Regression test, usability test, etc....
  • What test design techniques do you use to specify test cases?

Of course, you can always ask our consultants for advice and examples.

How can a testing tool help?

In most cases, a test tool is an ideal tool for executing the test plan. However, what is sometimes overlooked is that a test tool is also very useful in designing a test plan.

A testing tool like Testersuite is designed based on best practices and also follows TMap principles. This helps the user of Testersuite prepare the test plan. The test plan preparer is guided by the structure in Testersuite in thinking about numerous issues such as:

  • What do I include in a test cycle;
  • What test forms do I apply;
  • How to set up my test cases;
  • How to test based on release notes;
  • How to get testers to perform test runs;
  • How will we register defects ;
  • How do we report to stakeholders?

Are you interested in seeing what this looks like in practice? Then feel free to schedule a no-obligation demo with our consultants. They'll be happy to show you.

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