How to Write a Test Plan in Software Testing ?

What is a Test Plan ?

Test Plan is a document that derives all the current and future test activities in the development and maintenance projects. Test Plan is written by Test Lead or Test Manager with an objective to describe the test activities to be followed during the testing phase of the project.


Types of Test Plans

Test Plans can be documented as a

Master Test Plan : A Test Plan outlining all the test activities for a project in a single document.

Test Plan for Different Test Levels : A part of a master test plan but a separate Test Plan document for different test levels such as system testing or user acceptance testing.


How to Write a Test Plan?

A test plan is prepared after an in-depth review of the business documents prepared by Business Analysts. The business documents such as System Requirement Specification (SRS) document, Business Requirement Document (BRD) or a simple and approved Project Proposal with feature list are reviewed by Test Lead.

A test plan can be updated as any of the referred business documents are modified with addition/deletion or change of requirements.


Test Planning Process

Test Planning is a continuous process and performed throughout the project lifecycle. The test planning process starts with:

1. Forming a Test Team: The first task of a test lead to creating a testing team. Some points considered while forming a test team are:

  • Size of the project

  • Available Testers

  • Testing Tools

  • Testing Timelines

2. Analyze Potential Risks in testing: Each testing activity is accompanied with some assumptions and risks to be carefully mitigated. Some risk scenarios could be:

  • Approaching project completion timelines

  • Lack of Domain Knowledge among testers

  • Lack of Adequate Knowledge of Testing tools

  • Lack of Formal Project Documentation

  • No Standard development processes

  • Delay in release of build from development side

  • Improper project communication

3. Build a Test Plan: Once testing team is identified and potential risks are analyzed, the test lead now creates a test plan. A formal test plan is written as per IEEE 829 standard.


Components of a Test Plan

The main components of a test plan include:

  • Test Plan Id: Unique Number or Name for Test Plan document.

  • Introduction: Brief description about the project.

  • Test Items: List of all testable modules/features in current project.

  • Features to be tested: List of modules to be tested in current project.

  • Features not to be tested: List of modules not to be tested.

  • Test Approach: Test strategy document given by project manager.

  • Test Environment: Hardware and Software Requirements for testing.

  • Entry Criteria: When to start test execution.

  • Suspension Criteria: When to interrupt testing.

  • Exit Criteria: When to stop testing.

  • Test Deliverable: Test Work Products such as Test Scenarios, Test Cases, Defects reports etc. to be prepared by testers.

  • Staff and Training needs: Training schedule for testers to train them on project requirements.

  • Roles and responsibilities: Allocate features to be tested to testers.

  • Schedule: Testing deadlines for testers to follow.

  • Risks and assumptions: Expected risks and mitigation plan to overcome the risks.

Review and Approve a Test Plan

A test plan is generally reviewed and approved by a test manager or customer( technical)

Test Plan Template

A test plan template with sample data