Top 10 Tips for Developing a Solid Test Plan

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As a QA Engineer of a reputable Software Testing company, you have been allotted to overlook a project. The project entails a plethora of steps—planning, allocation of tasks, testing, implementation, reviewing… so on and so forth.  

What do you do?  

You start by creating a test plan. 

How do you do it? 

We’ll just tell you below.  

In simple terms, a test plan is a detailed roadmap for your testing process, that outlines all the required steps that have to be followed in order to achieve the desired outcome. It typically includes the objectives of your project, target audience for whom the project is intended, resources (both human and technical), scope of testing, schedule, and testing processes, amongst other categories.

A test plan gives direction to your project, gives an idea of what steps are to be prioritized and how much time each will take, and can be shared with the client to keep them abreast of how the project will be carried out.  

There is no hard and fast rule as to how your test plan should be. However, if you follow our golden rules below, you are guaranteed to devise a super helpful test plan that will assist you in sailing through your project smoothly.  

Tip 1: Know your product inside out  

Before you start your planning, it is essential to have a thorough know-how of the product. Discuss it with your client in detail, in order to get a complete picture of what they are expecting. Closely examine its features and services, and chalk out the requirements, resources, and processes accordingly.  

Tip 2: Define your test strategy 

A test strategy outlines your approach to the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC). It gives an overview of the testing processes, and insight into the test design. It aims to give structure to the software testing process for higher quality, accuracy, and more efficient planning. Test strategy is based upon brainstorming and critical thinking about how the project is to be conducted; it can be devised even before other factors (e.g., requirements) are specified. 

Tip 3: Scope of testing 

Since it’s not possible to test every single thing that comes to mind, you have to decide and note down the features that you will be testing, as well as those that lie outside the scope of your testing process. Write down what you want to test and why you want to test it, so that its importance is clear to the clients, stakeholders, and others with whom the document is being shared. You should use industry-standards while justifying your tests in order to make your choices clear. 

Tip 4: Define and list everything clearly 

Whether you’re defining or listing down resources, scope of testing, or roles and responsibilities, make sure you do it carefully and coherently. Do it methodologically and in organized fashion, instead of clumping information together. Read it from the user’s perspective to see if it makes sense, and if all necessary information is there. 

Tip 5: Schedule wisely 

Create a realistic schedule for testing, keeping in mind a reasonable estimate of the amount of time that would be taken to complete each task. A well-thought-out schedule will also help you keep track of progress, and to make appropriate amendments to the test plan in accordance with how the closely the schedule is being adhered to. 

Tip 6: Risk management 

A good test plan will coherently state all the anticipated risks of the product. If there is a risk that you feel isn’t highly likely to occur but a significant possibility of it unfolding is there, you should still include it. Also include solutions about how to mitigate those risks—make sure that the solutions are viable and guaranteed to mitigate the risks.  

Tip 7: Keep your audience in mind 

It is essential to write your test plan closely in accordance with the needs and requirements of your target market or client, so it makes sense to them and they do not feel lost in jargon that they may not be familiar with. The technical details should ideally be presented only in the testing details section; the rest of the test plan should be written in such a way that it is easily understandable by all stakeholders.

Consequently, the language you employ should be clear and simple; avoid using jargon or technical terms if you are not sure that all the stakeholders in the intended audience would be familiar with it.  

Tip 8: Keep it flexible and adaptable to change 

One of the biggest criticisms that people put forward regarding test plan templates is that they may be redundant in an agile working environment, where things are constantly changing. However, this will not be an issue if you design your test plan template in such a way that amendments can easily be made. For example, adding small details about factor(s) that are high on unpredictability and bound to change as the project progresses, will lead to the test plan being adjusted more frequently.  

Tip 9: Language: clear, concise, simple 

While some aspects of language have already been covered in Tip 7, there are also important other tips regarding it. In addition to keeping your language clear and simple, you should keep it concise and to the point instead of employing verbose language or long, winding sentences. Break the content down into a reader friendly format, by using bullet points or tables.  

Tip 10: Size  

The length of a test plan is often pondered upon. This, of course, depends on your project. More widescale, complex projects will require a longer and more detailed test plan, whereas smaller, simpler projects will not need as many details. It is advised to keep it as concise as possible, so that people actually read it, as people tend to only skim over longer documents without reading everything properly.  

These are some general, but extremely effective, rules that you should know at the tip of your fingers if you are aspiring to develop a coherent, practical test plan.   

We have some good news for you: Kualitee has its own detailed test plan template that will be highly beneficial for your software testing. If you want to transform your testing game, make sure to download the template below–for free!

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Download Test Plan Template