Test Plan – STLC Phase 2

Test Plan preparation occurs in the second phase of STLC (Software Test Life Cycle).

Today we are going to address the following questions.

Before starting the Test Planning Phase, there is an entry criteria which needs to be met.

They are  

1) Requirement Documents( Both Functional and Non Functional)

2)Requirement Traceability Report 

3)Automation Feasibility report .

Once these documents are ready, we are good to go with the planning stage.

What is a Test Plan?

It is a document  detailing the overall testing activities, scope, approach, dependencies, environment/data requirements, deliverables, roles/responsibilities, risk/contingency, schedule and tasks.

Based on various project requirements, there are different types of test plan.

  • Master Test Plan :A test plan typically address multiple test levels.
  • level test plan : A test plan that typically address one test level.
  • phase test plan : A test plan that typically address one test phase

Example of test levels are integration test, system test and acceptance test

What are the various sections in a Test Plan document ?

The sections may vary depends upon the organization, process, and the standards in practice. However  there is a standard IEEE template for Test Plan Document which provides summary of all mandatory sections. The one which we are going to discuss here is adhering to the IEEE standards and the same can be used as a reference for your test plan creation.

1.Test plan identifier

This is a unique identifier for the test plan document.Mostly  the identifier includes the version numbers and it should be  subject to the current configuration management practice of the project.

Before moving to the next section i.e. Introduction, we will include the following details in the test plan document.

1.1)The Purpose :

This will summaries the sections in the test plan document.

1.2)Participants / Test Plan Contact:

It will have the names and roles  of the people involved in the creation, update, review and sign off of the test plan document.

1.3)Supporting documents :

This section contains the documents(eg. Business Requirement Document (BRD), Functional/ Non Functional Specification Documents, High level & Low Level design documents) used for the creation of test plan document.

2. Introduction

This section will give overview of project.

3.Testing Scope

 3.1)In Scope:

 The features that will be tested as part of the project.

3.2)Out Of Scope:

The features that are not covered in testing 

4.Test Strategy/Approach

Mentions overall testing strategy for the project. This includes the testing levels( Iteration wise ) in case of  Master Test Plan and  the testing types e.g. Unit/Integration/System/Security/Automation/Performance/Regression /User Acceptance testing).

5. Key Dependencies

This section lists all the identified dependencies that are required to proceed with test design and further execution.For example availability of all requirement and design documents(Signed Off versions), environment and tool readiness, availability of required participants in defect triage meetings etc.

6. Environment and Data Requirements

This section in test plan document describes the test environment details used by the QA team for various types of testing.This will vary depends upon the project requirements.

7.Tools:

Tools section provides an overview of various tools which are used by the QA team during the project life cycle.

8.Roles and Responsibilities:

List the responsibilities of each team/individual.

9.Defect Management and Tracking:

This section contains information about overall defect management process.Also specify pass/fail criteria and suspension/resumption criteria for the project.

10.Test deliverables

  Deliverables produced as part of QA process.This list includes documents such as Test Plan,Test Strategy, Test Cases, Test Execution Report, Test Summary Report, Best practices and weekly/daily status reports.

11.Risk and contingencies

Lists all the risks that are identified in the planning phase and the mitigation taken for each risk

12.Staffing and Training needs

After the analysis stage,team will come up with the skill set which is necessary to complete the testing.If the team members need any additional training, this will be listed in this section in detail.This section should also contains the number of staffs required(in various roles) to complete the testing.

13.Project schedule and tasks

Project schedule section lists the start date and expected completion date for each of the testing activities planned.This again will differ based on the project requirements.Some may provide this split up based on Iteration level tasks.

14.Approvals

This contains the Name/Role/Signature of the Approver and the Date of approval.

How to create a Test Plan Document?

Please use the below sample document as a reference to create a test plan.Currently each section in this document uses placeholders .Based on the project requirements, you need to update the corresponding sections.If the project doesn’t require a particular section, feel free to change/delete it.

Sample_Test_Plan_template.pdf

What is the purpose and importance of Test Plan?

  • Test Plan acts as a means of communication between different teams in a project
  • Test Plan helps to identify the challenges that awaits us in later stages of life cycle
  • Stating the key dependencies in the plan is vital because this will impact reader expectations and  approval decisions
  • Early planning and documentations helps to keep all the participants on the same page

Failing to plan is planning to fail  : Alan Lakein

Test Plan Guidelines:

  • keep it concise and readable
  • make sure it is subject to change control
  • it’s useful to add hyperlinks for supporting documents location (e.g. shared path)
  • Review the plan as many times