Software test plan - the ultimate guide

    4 Minutes Read

    A well-designed test plan is crucial to the successful coordination and execution of software testing. This document is more than just documentation; it contributes directly to improving software quality and customer satisfaction.

    In this article, we explore in detail what a test plan is, why it's crucial, and how to put it in place to ensure that your software meets your requirements in the shortest possible time.


    What is a test plan?

    A test plan is a detailed document that describes the objectives, scope, approach and resources required to carry out software testing. It serves as a roadmap, clearly defining what is to be tested, how the tests will be carried out, and what the success criteria are.

    A well-written test plan ensures that all stakeholders involved in the software development process are aligned on test objectives, deadlines and efforts required.

    It also ensures that all aspects of testing for each component are addressed and executed in a systematic way, improving test accuracy and minimizing potential defects over the life of the application due to poor planning.

    The main objectives of a test plan

    • Define the scope of testing efforts by describing strategies and processes.
    • Ensure that risks associated with the software testing process are identified, mitigated and resolved.
    • Allocate all necessary resources and establish a schedule for the testing process, ensuring that tests are completed on time and on budget.
    • Establish test guidelines and procedures that govern the testing process, ensuring that tests are complete, accurate and meet quality standards.
    • Set quality criteria and test metrics to determine the effectiveness of the testing process.
    • Set up a mechanism for managing test results, including bug reports and test progress reports.
    • Ensure that all stakeholders involved in the software development process are aware of test objectives and processes.




    How to create a test plan for software testing

    1. Analyze the product and its purpose 

    It's crucial to have a clear understanding of the application's purpose, as well as the core functionalities that define the offering.

    A few key questions for analyzing the product:

    • Target audience: Who are the intended users?
    • Primary objective: What is the main purpose or objective of the product?
    • Technical requirements: What hardware and software specifications are needed?

    2. Choose the type of tests required

    In general, test types fall into two categories:

    Master / Project Test Plan: Describes the objectives, processes and resources of high-level testing for an entire project with several levels of testing.

    Test plan defining several levels of testing (acceptance tests, system tests, integration tests, component tests): Focuses on test objectives, processes and resources for a specific stage or level of a project.

    The ideal is to create a test plan by functionality (in SCRUM) where the test plans target functional tests (system tests), but it is also possible to do this on the different test levels.

    3. Define test objectives

    A well-defined set of test objectives helps the test team to stay focused and provide complete test coverage, guaranteeing a high-quality, more reliable software product.

    Examples of objectives per test :

    Functional testing: Validation of user workflows, data processing and verification of input/output parameters.

    Usability testing: Validation of software accessibility, verification of user path.

    Security tests: Verification of authentication and authorization functionalities and identification of potential threats.

    Performance tests: Check software reaction time, throughput and scalability.

    4. Define test criteria 

    Defining test criteria involves describing the software requirements to be considered successful in testing.

    For example, this may include test environment specification, acceptance criteria, test completion criteria and other metrics determining the success of the test process.

    Of course, test criteria must be aligned with the software's business needs, technical requirements and the expectations of the target audience. 

    5. Resource planning

    Resource planning involves identifying, allocating and managing resources such as manpower, tools and equipment.

    This involves determining the number of testers needed, their skills, and the test tools required to run the test process efficiently.

    Selecting the right tools for software testing is crucial to achieving optimum test coverage and increasing the efficiency of the testing process.

    Beyond test tools, resource planning also includes the selection of other details to make your ideal test environment a reality:

    • Hardware and software tools: Select test tools aligned with requirements.
    • System requirements: Define the necessary configurations.
    • Network topology configurations: Set up a network structure for precise testing.
    • Software licenses: Manage licenses to ensure compliance.

    6. Determine test deliverables

    Determining test deliverables involves defining the items to be delivered at the end of the test process.

    Typical test deliverables include test cases, defect reports, test plans, test logs and test summary reports.

    By defining test deliverables, the test team provides stakeholders with a clear understanding of the outcome of the testing process, making it easier to assess test effectiveness and determine whether test objectives have been met.




    Best practices for a test plan

    Know the definition of completion for each test

    Tests are built around requirements. Their main objective is to validate whether certain conditions occur.

    Knowing what won't be tested

    In a test plan, it is crucial to specify what will not be tested. If bugs are found in areas not covered by testing, they cannot be blamed.

    Keep test cases short and concise

    Testing too many things at once makes it difficult to identify specific failures.

    Organize tests using appropriate tags or naming conventions

    A strategic naming convention makes it easy to find tests and define what is being tested.


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