How to prepare a Test Plan

In this article , we are going to see how to prepare a test plan document. It is from my personal experience and specific to my previous projects. It may differ from other domain of work. In here I will avoid time estimation and resource allocation.

Normally a test plan have to submit while starting of a project or may be beginning of a full test activity. Test planning is the preparing for the testing phase of product development to ensure that what is delivered to the client indeed satisfies the requirements as agreed following design specification documents. The test plan helps prepares those with a stake in the tests by setting stakeholder expectations and documenting the agreed upon testing approaches.Test plan should explain
-the product functions to be tested
-what specific tests will be performed
-the approach to be take for those tests
-what to test and what not to test
-how the tests will be performed
-who will be responsible for performing each test
-what results are expected
-what is considered a successful test and a failed test and
-the exit criteria for any series of tests as well as for the testing phase as a whole.

A well defined test plan must also describe, in explicit detail, the method, goals, approaches, etc to be used for each test.  A Test Plan should contain
a. Test strategy
b. Type of testing
c. Test Matrix (along with Test suit) for Both Manual and Automated testing.
d. Tools we are using
e. Time scheduling(Resource planning may be included)
f.  Requirements For Environment
g. Review and Audit
h. Reporting
i. Risks and Assumptions
j. Approvals for release
k. Closure Activity
I am providing basic understanding of those, I will try to provide a Test Plan document.

A. Test Strategy -This should explain Testing goals,Testing process(combine with development process), Explanation of The type of testing that is going to be performed, Define test scopes and avoidable, What are deliverable of testing team, Explanation for the logic behind every test case and scenarios, Test evaluation methods and mindset, Test Release plan and goals, Test Certification policy(if necessary for product launching), Explanation of Test tool choosing and their managements, Dependency policy and Resolution etc. This strategy actually the summary of full test plan & procedure. This will guide test team to move forward to work.

B. Type of Testing -This should contain the specific type of testing method that are necessary to follow for testing the product. (i.e.- Expiatory testing , we will use after system testing. We need to take care of the overall impact of some specific functionality implemented.) In here, detail areas and scopes are defined for specific test types.(i.e.- Load testing, We need to justify log in functionality running smoothly  for 5000 users where response time should be less than 2second).

C. Test Matrix or Suit- This is the collection of all test cases and scenarios , represented categorically. The test cases are shown in tree manner of user's prospective. Most of the time test suit is also called test matrix. A test suit will contain all area definition with micro level detail test case collection where as a test case will just contain one level upper than test suit(contain all area collection). Depend on project & understanding the definition is used vise verse. i.e.-
Log in Test Matrix, Log in -> Log In page ->(Log In process, Forget password), Forget Password -> Email sending >Reset password
Log in Test Suit, this will contain full test matrix along with the test cases that will be test under that area.
In here, Manual test areas, test cases are define as well as Automated test areas are.

D. Tools - This will describe various tools that we will use for testing, how we will use that(basic), test scopes , test cases, Tools reporting formats.etc.

E. Time scheduling- This basically testing activity scheduling following development process. it is fully depend of resource's skills and availability.

F. Requirements For Environment - This will describe the detail test environment requirements and End user environments. This is also tie with procurement process.

G. Review and Audit: This will define the Review and Audit activity policy, mindset , deliverable , goals , announcements etc.(i.e.- For testing process, some company may do Audit about activity of testing for reporting to Government Authority or Agencies)

H. Reporting - This will specify how testers will track the bugs or issues. This include tools, reporting process & protocols, assignments, way of reporting, notification policy etc. 

I. Risks and Assumptions- Identify the high-risk assumptions of the test plan. Specify contingency plans for each (for example, delay in delivery of test items might require increased night shift scheduling to meet the delivery date).

J. Approvals for release : Specify the names and titles of all persons who must approve this plan and release the product. Provide space for the signatures and dates. It is mandatory for release notes also.

In some working environment , there are also some little elements in the plan, I will try to include those incrementally.
... To be continued..

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