Firstly, a Test Plan, in simple terms, is a testing project plan for all the testing works that need to be achieved during any of the test phases; the test plan will not address test design, nor detail the low-level details of say a Test Case or Test Script. It is however vital that you have a good test plan template so that you always start right and have the required sections in the template to allow you to:
- Be thorough
- Use the latest version of the document thus giving you the best opportunity to cover of all the details required for that Testing Phase.
IEEE 829 mandates that the following items must be included in your Test Plan:
- Test plan identifier
- Test deliverables
- Test tasks
- Test items
- Environmental needs
- Features to be tested
- Features not to be tested
- Staffing and training needs
- Approach Schedule
- Item pass/fail criteria
- Risks and contingencies
- Suspension and resumption criteria Approvals
Secondly, the Test Plan is a great tool for communicating what you are going to be doing, when it’s being done and by whom. Without the test plan the larger project team may not know what you are doing nor the benefits of why you are doing it; we all know the benefits of having buy-in from stakeholders, so make sure that once the Test plan is created that it is distributed accordingly.
And lastly, with best intentions, all projects can change direction or shape at any point; budgetary and time constraints may alter you test approach and how much testing you need to do. Therefore, plans need to change in accordance with that, be prepared for the test plan to be a working document and update it when necessary but don’t lose the fundamentals of what the desired outcome needs to be. Always remember to get sign-off when making changes. Starting with the right test plan template will give you the best opportunity to have a complete and thorough document.