A Complete Test Plan Tutorial: A Comprehensive Guide With Example

  • Learning Hub
  • A Complete Test Plan Tutorial: A Comprehensive Guide With Example

OVERVIEW

Although software testing is a foundational concept in software development, the idea of taking time to create test plans is often minimized or ignored altogether. This is unfortunate because test plans can significantly benefit all projects regardless of the life cycle.

A test plan is a detailed blueprint that lists the test strategy, objectives, test schedules, estimations, and the necessary resources to complete the testing project. The test plan is usually developed during the development phase to save time for executing tests and reaching a mutual agreement with all the parties involved. It acts as a detailed document to ensure the proper working of the software. The output from the testing phase is directly related to the quality of planning that went into it.

In this detailed test plan tutorial, you will learn what a test plan is, its importance, its components, and how you can write one.

What is Test Plan?

An agile test plan is a blueprint that defines software areas and activities. It describes the scope and approach of testing activities and the overall management and control of testing. A test plan acts as a reference point among the QA team for how the testing activities need to be carried out.

A test plan is the most important activity in ensuring that software testing is done according to plan. The test plan acts as the go-to template for conducting software testing activities that are fully monitored and controlled by the testing manager. Preparing a solid test plan involves the contribution of the test lead, the test manager, and the test engineer.

Along with identifying the objectives and scope of the software testing process, a test plan specifies the methods to resolve any risks or errors. It also helps determine whether a product meets the expected quality standards before deployment.

Importance of Test Plan

A test plan is the building block of every testing effort. It guides you through the process of checking a software product and clearly defines who will perform each step. A clear test plan ensures everyone is on the same page and working effectively toward a common goal.

Whether you are building an app or open-source software, a test plan helps you create a strong foundation.

The importance of a high-quality test plan rises when developers and testers need to identify risk areas, allocate the resources efficiently, and determine the order of testing activities. A well-developed test plan acts as a blueprint that can be referred to at any stage of the product or software development life cycle.

Automation Testing Lifecycle

Difference Between Test Plan and Test Strategy

Check out this detailed comparison between Test Plan and Test Strategy.

Test PlanTest Strategy
A test plan is a detailed blueprint highlighting software testing efforts' scope, objective, and approach.Test strategy is an important set of decisions determining how testing needs to be done.
Test plan includes the following components- test plan id, product features, criteria for passing or failing features, testing techniques, tasks, test deliverables, etc.Test strategy includes the following components - team structures, objectives, scope, documentation formats, etc. Learn more about it by reading through this blog on Key elements of an effective test automation strategy.
It can be changed.It can’t be changed.
Test plan exists independently.Test strategy constitutes a small section or part of a test plan.
Focuses more on details.Focuses more on general methodologies.
A test plan is used at a project level.A test strategy is used for organization-level projects.
A testing manager or test administrator carries out a plan describing how to test, when to test, who will test, and what to test.A project manager carries out a test strategy that outlines the type of technique to follow and which module to test.
A test plan is essential in determining how, when and by whom something will be tested.A test strategy should be based on the essential objectives of the approach.

Test Plan Guidelines

Before you create your test plan, it is important to consider your intended consumers' needs and ensure they are being met. This can be done by following a set of guidelines that will improve the quality of your test plan tenfold.

Here are a few guidelines for preparing an effective test plan:

  • Be Concise: Test plans should be kept concise and no longer than one page. Redundancy and superfluousness should be avoided by test managers while developing a test plan.
  • Be Organized: While developing a test plan, it is necessary to group the information logically for better understanding. For instance, while specifying an operating system of a test environment, the OS version should also be mentioned, not just the OS name.
  • Be Readable: A test plan should be easy to read and understand and avoid technical jargon/language wherever possible. By using lists instead of lengthy paragraphs, managers can improve readability.
  • Be Flexible: A test plan should be adaptive and not rigid. To avoid being held back by outdated documentation, you need to create documentation that won't get in the way if new information comes along or changes need to be made. Test managers should have their test plans reviewed before sending them for approval.
  • Be Accurate: It is important to ensure that a test plan has all the relevant and updated information. Testing managers should update the information and the plan as and when necessary.

How to Write a Test Plan?

Writing an effective test plan has the following steps:

  • Learn about the product:
  • Before testing begins, it is important to know everything about the product/software. Questions such as how it was developed, its intended purpose, and how it works should be asked to understand its functionality better.

    By understanding your software correctly, you can create test cases that provide the most insight into flaws or defects in your product.

  • Scope of testing:
  • To keep the test plan at a reasonable length, before creating it, you should consider what aspects of the product will be tested, what modules or functions need to be covered in detail, and any other essential information you should know about.

    The scope of a test determines the areas of a customer's product to be tested, what functionalities to focus on, what bug types the customer has an interest in, and which areas or features should not be tested.

  • Develop test cases:
  • Writing an effective test case is one of the most important parts of creating a software testing document. A test case is a document that helps you track what you have tested and what you have not. It should include information such as:

    • What needs to be tested
    • How it will be tested
    • Who will do the testing?
    • Expected results
  • Develop a test strategy:
  • A test strategy is used to outline the testing approach for the software development cycle. It provides a rational deduction from organizational, high-level objectives to actual test activities to meet those objectives from a quality assurance perspective.

  • Define the test objectives:
  • The test objectives form the foundation of your testing strategy. They are a prioritized list to verify that testing activity is consistent with project objectives and measure your progress towards completing all the test objectives. Every test case should be linked to a test objective.

    Objectives might include things like:

    • Testing features you know are stable.
    • Testing newly implemented features.
    • Executing exploratory tests.
    • Strengthening product stability throughout the lifecycle.
  • Selecting testing tools:
  • Choosing the right software testing solution can be difficult. Some of these tools are software-based, while others may require a physical resource like a test machine. Therefore, choosing the best website testing tools for each job is essential, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all solution.

    The test objectives form the foundation of your testing strategy. They are a prioritized list to verify that testing activity is consistent with project objectives and measure your progress towards completing all the test objectives. Every test case should be linked to a test objective.

    You can also Subscribe to the LambdaTest YouTube Channel and stay updated with the latest tutorials around Selenium testing, Cypress testing, CI/CD, and more.

    LambdaTest allows users to run manual and automation testing of web and mobile apps across 3000+ browsers, operating systems, and real device combinations.

    Over 1 Million users across 130+ countries rely on LambdaTest for their web testing needs. Using LambdaTest, businesses can ensure quicker developer feedback and achieve faster go-to-market.

    What does LambdaTest offer?

    • Run Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, and Appium automation tests across 3000+ real desktop and mobile environments.
    • Live interactive cross browser testing in different environments.
    • Perform Mobile App testing on Real Device cloud.
    • Perform 70% faster test execution with HyperExecute.
    • Mitigate test flakiness, shorten job times and get faster feedback on code changes with TAS (Test At Scale).
    • Smart Visual Regression Testing on cloud.
    • LT Browser - for responsive testing across 50+ pre-installed mobile, tablets, desktop, and laptop viewports.
    • Capture full page automated screenshot across multiple browsers in a single click.
    • Test your locally hosted web and mobile apps with LambdaTest tunnel.
    • Test for online Accessibility testing.
    • Test across multiple geographies with Geolocation testing feature.
    • 120+ third-party integrations with your favorite tool for CI/CD, Project Management, Codeless Automation, and more.
  • Find bugs early:
  • To ensure the success of your project, you should allocate time for 'bug fixing' sessions in your planning document. This will allow you to identify problems with the software early on before they become too problematic or expensive to fix.

  • Defining your test criteria:
  • Test criteria should be defined in the test case but can be included on a separate sheet of paper. Test criteria are essential objectives broken down into smaller parts. They have specific information about how each objective will be met, which helps you track your testing progress.

    Suspension criteria are conditions that must be met before you can stop testing. For example, if a certain number of bugs have been found or the software cannot run due to performance issues, you may want to suspend testing.

    Exit criteria are standards that must be met before testing can end. For example, once each objective has been completed, and all bugs have been resolved, you can stop testing a program.

  • Resource planning:
  • Resource planning allows you to allocate and efficiently assign people to projects where needed. It can also help you in areas such as capacity management and resources needed based on roles and project needs. However, this functionality requires insight into project data.

    Including a resource plan in your software testing document can help you list the number of people needed for each process stage. This will include what each person's role is, as well as any training they'll need to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.

  • Planning test environment:
  • To ensure quality testing, including information about the test environment you will be testing, along with some other important aspects such as:

    • What is the test hardware required for product testing?
    • Required sizing for servers and software.
    • Product-supported platforms.
    • Other testing environment-related information having an impact on the testing process.
  • Plan test team logistics:
  • Test management manages activities that ensure high-quality and high-end testing of software applications. This method consists of tracking, organizing, controlling, and checking the visibility of the testing process to deliver a high-quality software application.

    Test management is one of the most important parts of the implementation process. Communication with your testers is vital to their progress and the usefulness of your testing document.

  • Schedule and estimation:
  • A test plan is only as good as its schedule, which should outline specific deadlines and milestones. Milestones are significant events in a product's development, like the product's initial release, internal testing sessions, or public beta tests. They also included all other key points in time where your team needs to focus their efforts on testing.

  • Test deliverables:
  • To ensure that your testing document is complete, it should include a list of the deliverables required for testing. Make sure you link these lists to the steps in your schedule so that everyone knows when they need to be ready for action.

  • Test automation:
  • If you have a complex piece of software that requires a lot of testing, consider using automated testing. Automating the testing process makes it possible for testers to accomplish more in less time, thereby boosting productivity and significantly reducing the cost of testing. You can even speed up testing activities by using a mobile bot.

Attributes of a Test Plan

Test plan consists of 16 standard attributes or components. We’ll discuss them in detail now:

Test Plan Attributes
  • Objective: Objectives describe the aim of the test plan to ensure that a software product meets its requirements and provides quality functionality to customers. The overall test objective is to find as many defects as possible and make software bug-free. Test objectives must be divided into components and subcomponents. While performing component testing, these activities should be performed.
    • Identify all the aspects of your product that need to be tested.
    • Set goals and targets for the application based on the app's features.
  • Test Strategy: Test Strategy is a crucial document to be created by the Test Manager. It helps determine the amount of time and money needed for testing, what features will be tested, and which ones will not. The scope can be divided into two parts:
    • In-scope: The modules to be rigorously tested or in detail.
    • Out-scope: The modules that are not to be tested in detail or so rigorously.

    To explain it better, check out this example. Features A, B, and C must be developed in an application. However, another company has already designed B; therefore, the development team will purchase B from that company and perform only integrated testing with A, B, and C.

  • Testing Methodology: The methods used for testing vary from application to application. The testing methodology will depend on the application and its feature requirements. Since the terms used in testing are not standardized, it is important to define the type of testing you will use so that everyone involved with the project can understand it.
  • Approach: Testing software is a unique process because it requires you to provide feedback on how the application handled certain conditions and scenarios. The process of testing software is different, involving the flow of applications forward to future reference. The procedure has two aspects:
    • High-level Scenarios: High-level scenarios are written for testing critical features, such as logging in to a website or ordering items from a website.
    • The Flow Graph: A flow graph is a visual representation of how the control of a program is parsed among its various blocks. It can be used to make an unstructured program more efficient by eliminating unnecessary loops. It makes it easy to combine benefits such as converging and merging.
  • Assumptions: Certain assumptions are made in this phase, they are as follows.
    • The testing team will receive sufficient support from the development team.
    • The tester will get the knowledge needed to perform the job from the development team.
    • The company will give the testing department proper resources to do its job.
  • Risk: If the assumption is wrong, many problems can occur. For example, if the budgeting is off, costs may be overrun. Some reasons for this happening include:
    • Poor managerial skills displayed by the testing manager.
    • Not able to meet project deadlines.
    • Lack of cooperation.
  • Backup/Mitigation Plan: A company must have a backup plan if anything goes wrong. The purpose of such a plan is to prevent errors. Some points to consider when formulating a backup plan are:
    • Each test activity should be assigned a priority.
    • Managers shouldn’t lack leadership skills.
    • Testers should be granted adequate training sessions.
  • Role and Responsibility: For the effectiveness of a testing team, every member's role and responsibilities must be clearly defined and recorded. For instance,
    • Test Manager: A test manager is essential in developing software, as they manage the project, assign resources, and give the team direction.
    • Tester: A tester can save a project time and money by identifying the most appropriate testing technique and verifying the testing approach.
  • Scheduling: This procedure will ensure that you record the start and end dates for every testing activity, a crucial part of the testing process. For example, you may record the creation date for a test case and the date when you finished reviewing it.
  • Defect Tracking: Software testing is an integral part of the development process, as it helps determine whether a program has flaws. If any defects are discovered during testing, they should be communicated to the programmer. Here is the process for tracking defects:
    • Information Capture: We begin the process by taking basic information.
    • Prioritizing the Tasks: The task is prioritized based on the severity of the problem and its importance to the organization.
    • Communicate the Defects: The communication between the identifier and fixer of bugs is essential to the smooth running of any project.
    • Test Different Environments: Test your application based on various hardware and software configurations to ensure its compatibility with different platforms.
  • Test Environment: The testing team will use a specific environment. The things that are said to be tested are written under this section. This includes the list of hardware and software. Installation of all software will also be checked under this. For instance, testers would require software configurations on different operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and Mac, which affect their efficiency. The hardware configuration consists of RAM, ROM, etc.
  • Entry and Exit Criteria: The conditions that need to be met before any new testing is started or any type of testing ends are known as entry and exit criteria.
  • Entry Conditions:

    • The necessary resources for a project must be available.
    • The application must be fully prepared and submitted.
    • Your test data should be prepared.

    Exit Conditions:

    • There should be no major bugs in the program.
    • When all required test cases are executed and passed.
  • Test Automation: It acknowledges the features that are to be automated and the features that are not to be automated.
    • The more bugs there are, the more time a tester needs to find and fix them. A feature that has many bugs is usually assigned to manual testing.
    • Automating a feature can be more economical and efficient than performing manual tests.
  • Deliverables: Deliverables are evidence of progress made by the testing team and given to customers at the end of the project.
  • Before Testing Phase:

    • You should develop a test plan document that outlines all aspects of testing.
    • The test case document should be created before the testing phase.
    • Test design specifications should be listed down.

    During Testing Phase:

    • Test data is the information testers use to complete test cases. It can be entered manually or created with a tool.
    • Test scripts are a detailed description of the transactions that must be performed to validate an application or a system. Test scripts should list each step taken, along with the expected result.
    • A log of your errors is a personalized document that lists your mistakes and how to correct them.

    After Testing Phase:

    • Test report should be generated.
    • Defect report should be generated.
    • Installation report should be generated.

    The after-testing phase contains a test plan and defect report, which is used to monitor and control the testing effort, and other components are used to summarize the effort.

  • Templated: Templated reports are used in every test report to be prepared by the testing team.

Conclusion

Planning the test is an important activity of the testing process, regardless of which approach you to use.

When conducting a test, it is necessary to prepare and plan. Some resources are needed for your tests, such as people and environments. The test plan defines these resources and expresses their needs to get them ready when you need them.

A test plan is a detailed blueprint that specifies how the testing will be carried out and what needs to be done to ensure that the software being built meets its requirements. A test plan provides a means of communicating to the rest of the organization and other organizations about how testing is planned. Without a test plan, people won't know what to expect and may not have solid knowledge about testing goals.

Through this extensive Test Plan tutorial, we hope to answer every question you have regarding Test Plan.

Happy Testing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is included in a test plan?

A test plan is a blueprint that describes the testing of a product. Test plans outline the exact methods used to test the software, helping developers determine whether their product works as it should. A test plan includes information about the product, objectives for testing, strategies for testing, the scope of testing, schedule for testing, procedures for testing, resources required for testing, and deliverables of the finished test.

Who prepares the test plan?

The Test Plan document is written by the Test Manager or Test Lead and should describe what to test, how to test, how many testers will be involved, etc.

What is a test plan in agile?

In agile testing, a test plan outlines the type of testing in each iteration, such as test data requirements, infrastructure and environments needed for testing, and results. Unlike waterfall models, in which test plans are written before development begins, agile model testing plans are updated for every release. Typical tests in agile include test scope, infrastructure requirements, and test environment.