The Project Plan Part 4: The Test Plan

Planning

The Test Plan applies primarily to projects that include new and changed software and/or business processes. Doing this planning in advance is key to meeting the target schedule as testing is typically the most time consuming portion of a project. Unfortunately, when many projects are in schedule trouble, testing is usually the first target for cutting the planned effort. Having a solid Test Plan will help mitigate that risk.

There are multiple aspects to the test plan:

Determine the Test Plan Objectives

  • To identify the activities required to prepare for and conduct testing
  • To define the test scope, strategy and methodology to be used for the test
  • To define financial control tests (if applicable)
  • To identify configuration controls and metrics
  • To define metrics and status reporting
  • To identify responsibilities for the tasks included in the plan
  • To define the test tools and the environment needed to conduct the test
  • To identify test interactions with other organizations
  • To identify test customers and deliverables
  • To identify the major testing milestones
  • To define the sources of information used to prepare the plan

Define the Test Approach:

Give a high-level description of the approach and activities to be followed in testing the solution. If you are using Agile methods, this is where you will plan the release/test cycles.

Identify the Major Test Responsibilities:

Identify teams and individuals who will be managing and executing the tests. It should also specify their responsibilities.

The Features and Functionality to Test:

This is a high-level description (not the detailed test cases). You should consider the following:

  • Specific features to be tested
  • The types of error testing to be performed
  • The types of stress/load testing to be performed
  • The type of usability testing to be performed
  • The type of reliability testing to be performed
  • The type of recovery testing to be performed
  • The type of compatibility/migration testing to be performed
  • The type of security testing to be performed
  • The types of software and hardware to be employed if testing is to be performed over multiple software and hardware configurations (configuration testing)

Document your thoughts on the test process:

You should consider the following:

  • How you will define the acceptance criteria
  • Deliverables – materials that must be made available or created in order to conduct the tests and that will be developed from the tests to describe the test results.
  • Test Documentation – itemize the documentation you will require in regards to recording the test procedures and results.
  • Test Data – Where will it come from? How will it be created? Are regular refreshes needed?
  • Support Organizations – identify all interfacing organizations (Technology Services, Vendors, etc) that are needed to support the testing. Describe what will be needed.
  • Test Setup, Procedures and Walk-thru – general description of the steps the test will go thru to ensure quality tests.
  • Tracking and Reporting Status – Define the information test team members will communicate during the testing process. This should include the bug reporting tools and methods as well as a bug classification strategy
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