What Is Test Plan: Guidelines And Importance With Examples

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A test plan is a precious written document that describes the testing strategy for a software or hardware project. It is a document that outlines the scope of testing, the resources needed, the test environment, and the test cases that will be executed. Its purpose is to ensure that the testing process is thorough and complete and that all necessary tests are conducted systematically and coordinated.

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. These testing plans are usually developed during the development phase to save time for executing tests and reaching a mutual agreement with all the parties involved.

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

How to write a Test Plan?

  • Learn about the product
  • Scope of testing
  • Develop test cases
  • Develop a test strategy
  • Define the test objectives
  • Selecting testing tools

If you want to delve deeper into these points, you can explore them further in the latter part of this blog.


What is a Test Plan?

A test plan is a comprehensive document outlining the strategy, scope, and objectives of software testing. It includes key components like test objectives, test environments, test cases, and schedules. The purpose of a test plan is to ensure systematic and effective testing, identify defects, and improve software quality. Benefits include minimizing risks, enhancing product reliability, and meeting customer expectations.

It is the most important activity in ensuring that software testing is done according to plan. It acts as the go-to template for conducting software testing activities that are fully monitored and controlled by the testing manager. Developing a 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, it specifies the methods to resolve any risks or errors. It also helps determine whether a product meets the expected quality standards before deployment.

Test Plan Examples

Developing a test plan is an essential step in the software testing process. It is a document that outlines the strategy, approach, resources, and schedule for testing a software application. A well-written product test plan helps ensure that the software is thoroughly tested, meets the requirements, and is free of defects. It should be developed early in the software development process to incorporate testing into the overall development schedule. These application test plans must be reviewed and approved by the key stakeholders before testing begins.

To develop a test plan, you need to follow some steps in testing process. Here is a test plan example for a hypothetical software application:

  • Introduction:
  • This testing plan is for the Web Application XYZ, version 1.0. The objective of this testing is to ensure that the web application meets the requirements and is free of defects.

  • Test Items:
    • Web Application: XYZ, version 1.0
    • Build Number: 101
  • Features to be tested:
    • User login and registration
    • User profile management
    • Search and filtering functionality
    • Shopping cart and checkout
    • Payment gateway integration
    • Email and SMS notifications
    • Data export
  • Test Environment:
    • Operating System: Windows 10, MacOS
    • Browser: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari
    • Hardware: Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM
    • Server: AWS
  • Test Schedule:
    • Test Planning: e.g., January 15th - January 20th
    • Test Case Development: e.g., January 21st - January 25th
    • Test Execution: e.g., January 26th - February 5th
    • Test Closure: e.g., February 6th
  • Test Deliverables:
    • Test cases
    • Test scripts
    • Test reports
    • Defect reports
    • Performance test report
    • Responsive test report
  • Test Responsibilities:
    • Test Lead: Responsible for overall test planning and execution
    • Test Engineer: Responsible for developing test cases and scripts, and executing tests
    • Developer: Responsible for fixing defects and providing support during testing
    • Server administrator : Responsible for maintaining the test environment
  • Test Approach:
    • Manual testing will be used to test all the functionalities of the web application
    • Automated testing will be used to test the performance and load of the web application
    • Responsive testing will be done to ensure the web application is compatible with different devices and screen sizes
  • Exit Criteria:
    • All the identified defects must be fixed and verified.
    • All the test cases must be executed and passed.
    • All the test deliverables must be completed and submitted.
    • Performance test should pass the threshold limit.

This is a sample test plan, it may vary depending on the complexity of the web application and the organization's testing process. Likewise, you can create your own sample test plan depending on your software application requirements.

Why are Test Plans So Important?

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 software development test plan ensures everyone is on the same page and working effectively towards a common goal.

Whether you are building an app or open-source software, a testing project 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 testing plan acts as a blueprint that can be referred to at any stage of the product or software development life cycle.

Automation Testing Lifecycle

Let's discuss these processes in detail:

  • Determining the scope of Test Automation:
  • Determining the scope of test automation is an important step in creating a effective software testing plan. It involves identifying which parts of the software should be automated and which parts should be tested manually. Factors to consider when determining the scope of test automation include the complexity of the software, the time and resources available for testing, and the importance of the software's functionality.

    By determining the scope of test automation, the test plan can ensure that the testing process is efficient and effective, and that the software is thoroughly tested.

  • Selecting the right tool for Automation:
  • Selecting the right tool for automation is an important step in creation of a good testing plan. It involves evaluating different automation tools and selecting the one that is best suited for the software being tested. Factors to consider when selecting a tool include the compatibility of the tool with the software and its environment, the cost of the tool, and the level of support provided by the vendor.

    By selecting the right tool, it can ensure that the testing process is efficient and effective, and that the software is thoroughly tested.

  • Test Plan + Test Design + Test Strategy:
  • A test plan, test design, and test strategy are all closely related and should be included in it.

    A test plan outlines the overall strategy and approach for testing the software. A test design includes the specific test cases, test scripts, and test data that will be used to test the software. A test strategy outlines the overall approach to testing, such as manual testing or automated testing, and how the testing process will be executed.

    By including all of these elements, it ensures that the testing process is thorough and effective and that the software is thoroughly tested.

    Explore our Analytical Test Strategy Guide. Understand its importance, roles, tools, defects management, metrics, automation, and more. Master analytical testing confidently.

  • Setting up the test environment:
  • Setting up the test environment is an important step in creating as it involves configuring the hardware and software that will be used for testing, including the operating system, browser versions, and any other relevant details.

    Setting up the test environment ensures that the testing process is consistent and that all necessary areas are covered. It also helps to ensure that the testing process is efficient and effective, and that the software is thoroughly tested.

  • Automation test script development + Execution:
  • Automation test script development and execution are important steps in creating a software development testing plan. Automation test script development involves creating the scripts that will be used to automate the testing process. Automation test script execution involves running the automated scripts to test the software. This step is important because it ensures that the testing process is efficient and effective, and that the software is thoroughly tested.

    Automation allows for the repeatability and consistency of tests which can save time and resources. It also allows for testing of large amounts of data and scenarios that would be impractical or impossible to test manually.

    By including automation test script development and execution, testing plan ensures that the testing process is efficient and effective and that the software is thoroughly tested.

  • Analysis + Generation of test reports:
  • Analysis and generation of test reports are important steps in creating an exhaustive testing plan. Analysis involves evaluating the results of the testing process, identifying any defects, and determining the overall quality of the software.

    Generation of test reports involves creating documents that summarize the results of the testing process, including any defects that were identified and how they were resolved.

    These reports help to ensure that the testing process is thorough and effective, and that the software is thoroughly tested. They also provide transparency and accountability to all stakeholders and helps to identify areas of improvement.


Test Plan Vs. 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.
It exists independently.Test strategy constitutes a small section or part of a test plan.
Focuses more on details.Focuses more on general methodologies.
It 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.
It 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 testing plan tenfold.

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

  • Be Concise:It should be kept concise and no longer than one page. Redundancy and superfluousness should be avoided by test managers while developing it.
  • Be Organized: While developing, 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:It 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:It 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 review before sending them for approval.
  • Be Accurate: It is important to ensure that it contains 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?

Crafting a comprehensive test plan is crucial for successful software testing. It serves as a roadmap, guiding the testing process and ensuring thorough coverage. To create an effective test plan, follow a structured approach. This section provides step-by-step guidance on how to write a test plan, covering key elements like defining objectives, determining scope, identifying test cases, establishing a strategy, creating a schedule, and conducting reviews. Mastering the art of test plan creation enhances testing quality, minimizes risks, and delivers reliable software solutions that meet customer expectations.

To write an effective test plan in software testing plan, you need to follow these 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.

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  • 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

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

Test Plan Attributes
  • Objective: The aim is 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 testing 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.


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. It 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. It also provides a means of communicating to the rest of the organization and other organizations about how testing is planned. Without having a testing plan, people won't know what to expect and may not have solid knowledge about testing goals.

We hope to address all of your questions about Test Plan in this tutorial.

Happy Testing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a test plan?

A test plan defines the scope of a project's testing and provides an understanding of the resources required to accomplish that scope. It is a detailed document that describes the scope of testing, the resources needed, the test environment, and the test cases that will be executed.

What is in a test plan?

A test plan is a blueprint that describes the testing of a product. It outlines the exact methods used to test the software, helping developers determine whether their product works as it should. A typical test plan includes information about the product, objectives, resource requirements, test environment, risks and contingencies, scheduling and reporting, and deliverables of the finished test.

How to write a test plan?

The purpose of a test plan is to lay out the details of the testing process. A good test plan should be well-organized and detailed. To create a solid test plan, identify all aspects of testing, including: scope, risks, test environment, resource requirements, etc.

What is a test plan in QA?

A test plan in Quality Assurance (QA) is a document that outlines the steps required to perform the necessary QA testing. The purpose of a test plan in QA is to ensure that the product, project, or system being tested meets the required quality standards and is fit for its intended purpose.

Who prepares the test plan?

The Test Plan document is usually prepared by the Test Lead or Test Manager and describes what testing activities will be performed, how each test will be conducted and when testing activities will take place.

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.

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