What is the test plan for software testing?

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Imagine you and your team of software developers working day and night on a product for weeks, months, and even years. You have followed all the steps and procedures required to successfully develop a product. And you plan to publish it in a few days. Now, long story short, your product is out, but what happens is your end users are starting to use the product. They find lots of problems while using the app and suddenly a large portion of the end users turn to your competitors. So what happened, what exactly was wrong?

The answer is quite obvious: you missed one of the most crucial aspects, i.e. software testing! However, software testing is a broad concept and I won’t go into that detail, but the following post focuses on what a test plan is and how it turns out to be one of the most crucial aspects of the software testing space.

Software testing is a process of reviewing the product before it is released to end users. Here you have to check whether the developed product meets the exact requirements or not. Several tests are being done to check if the product has any bugs, errors or issues, and preventing these issues from increasing can also lead to huge savings. The product is observed, evaluated and analyzed properly and this is where a test plan comes into play.

What is a test plan?

A test plan is a kind of detailed document that includes every detail and description. From test strategy to goal setting, planning, resource estimation, and the list goes on! From the scope to the approach to consider, the test activities to consider are all included in a test plan. In other words, it’s more like a plan to run the tests. And in the end, all this is done to ensure that the developed software will work according to the predefined needs and requirements.

Do you think a test plan is rigid? Of course not! Today, software testing is supposed to be viewed alongside software development. This means that as development progresses, the dynamic documentation also changes. And with these details in mind, several testing activities are conducted and executed.

So is the test plan discussed between software testers, QAs and software developers? Of course not! It is shared between Business Analysts, Project Managers, Dev teams, and between all those who are linked to the project in one way or another. Below, I would like to state some facts about a test plan.

  • It is a detailed document used to perform successful software testing
  • The document can be shared between business analysts, development teams, and other relevant experts.
  • The test plan is created by and for QA members
  • A test plan is quite static but at the same time it has the potential to be updated whenever needed.
  • The more complete the test plan, the more successful the project will be

Now let’s further explore the why part. Why is a test plan needed in the software testing space?

Meaning of the test plan

Now, I have met many of you who, even today, are unsure why a test plan is needed? In fact, some of you are wondering whether or not to consider a test plan. Why create such a comprehensive guide before starting any testing activity? Here is the answer for you!

What is a test plan used for?

  • It keeps everything noted – any potential tests that need to be done after coding
  • The plan itself changes with the continuous changes that occur in the project
  • Tests can be recorded accurately
  • At first, everything may seem abstract but in the end, it will be concrete.
  • During coding, test cases can be materialized simultaneously
  • Once the test points are defined, they can be run.

The objective of the test plan

  • All functional and design requirements must be met
  • Unit and system tests
  • All test methods for the unit and system tests can be well identified
  • Right from the testing scope, schedule, test deliverables, risks and contingencies, etc. are included here.

Benefits of creating a test plan

Test guide

One of the obvious benefits of a test plan is that it acts as a pure guide. Here the approaches are tested and the guide outlines what testing practices should be considered. All challenges can be met well. The test plan answers all test questions in advance. From scoping, to checking whether or not all test items are present, to deciding on the test/pass criteria of the items and what is needed for a successful business, everything is mentioned here.

Managing change is possible

Another advantage of using a test plan is that here change management can be done easily. You see that every project evolves and situations may continue to change from time to time. The test plans are quite adaptable. Additionally, these plans can be updated and milestones can maintain alignment with ongoing project goals and needs.

Also, consider that a test plan acts as one of the best means of communication, especially when you want to share every detail with your teammate. I’m talking about people on the project team, testers, development teams, stakeholders, etc. Indeed, these people can evaluate it, revise it and propose the necessary corrections if necessary.

Also, it may interest you to know that the test plan mainly includes all relevant information based on HR schedule, estimated budget, schedule, software and hardware requirements, risks and contingencies.

Get rid of unnecessary activities

Another major benefit of creating a test plan is that you can skip testing unnecessarily. Sometimes, we tend to run after prevention so much that we often forget the difference between what is necessary and what is not!

What if some features are not implemented correctly? In this case, testing would be such a waste of time and energy. Remember that a test plan is used to keep the test procedure on track. After all, this one includes high test scope, features and functionality. Not to mention that test teams no longer have to test “out of scope” features over and over again.

When to write a test plan?

Of course, there is no cookie-cutter rule, but it is often recommended to write the test plan once the test strategy has been written. And don’t forget that these two activities must take place at the beginning of the project cycle. Just in case, if you find gaps and generalities, that’s fine! Just in case, if you find a feedback and an update, that’s just as well. Be aware that the test plan is a starting and breathing document – its dynamic nature makes it a cut above.

Some tips to keep in mind when writing a test plan

  • Keep it simple and concise
  • Keep everything well organized
  • Make sure it’s easy to read and understandable
  • Make sure it stays up to date

Final Thoughts

So that’s all for now! Overall, a test plan is an extremely important aspect of ensuring the success of your testing process. Of course, no test plan is perfect, but the more test plans you create, the more likely you are to succeed.

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