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How to write a Test Plan and what to include.

Test Plan
Writing a Software Testing Plan | TestQuality
New software has to be thoroughly tested before it can be released to the public. As such, a software test plan is essential. The software development process is not complete without a comprehensive test plan. It details the measures you'll take to guarantee that your product or feature will function as intended and won't fail at the worst possible time for your customers.

Creating a complete Test Plan either on an online document or written paper, helps streamline the testing phase and serve as a starting point for further initiatives.

The Test Plan helps professionals (such as software testers and test managers) in conducting thorough tests of the program and identifying any bugs or other issues that may need fixing. As a result, at TestQuality we have compiled a list of the top tips for efficiently creating a software test strategy.

Using an Agile approach or just not having enough time to planify a set of tests are not excuses for not using this valuable tool. The truth is that a test plan is useful regardless of the lifecycle strategy since it guarantees sufficient resources will be available to accomplish the testing goals.

But what should you put in your test plan? How in-depth of an approach do you need to take to guarantee that your product delivers what its consumers anticipate?
To guarantee that your users, development team, and stakeholders are satisfied, this post will walk you through the steps of developing and documenting your test plan and selecting the appropriate test methodologies.

Exactly what is a Test Plan and why is it necessary?

A test plan is a document that specifies how a new function or piece of software will be tested, what its goals are, what materials will be required, when those materials will be available, and what constitutes a successful test. Our recomendation is that prior to releasing a software product to the general public, a corporation should create a document called a "Test Plan" that details the team's strategy for doing so.

The primary objective is to find bugs, defects, and other issues that might lead to the program failing to perform as expected or giving consumers a poor experience. To be more precise, a test strategy guarantees your software or application will:

  • Conforms to the specifications that served as the basis for its creation. (In other words, does it function as intended when expected)
  • Offer accurate responses to a wide variety of inputs.
  • Meets the required functional specifications and may be put to the purpose you've envisioned.
  • Be compatible with the various target settings.
  • Reaches the goals set by you and your constituents.

By working together to develop a comprehensive test plan, your team will have a clearer picture of what elements of the program need to be tested and how to do it effectively.

During the course of your software's lifetime, it will be exposed to a wide variety of environments and use cases that you will likely never be able to simulate in a controlled testing environment. Instead, flaws in the program might result from:

  • Errors in the program's code, often known as bugs
  • Lack of attention to necessary details, such as edge situations, scalability, or security.
  • Variations in the surrounding conditions, such as the introduction of new applications or hardware, or the modification of the original data, might cause problems.

The task of creating a test strategy that is both concise and thorough, can be complex. All feasible information should be included to reduce the possibility of leaving anything out. However, you don't want to overwhelm the testing crew, postpone the release, or introduce new faults as a result of the "fixes."

Why are test plans so essential?

Test plans are important because they:

  • Specify the test's scope to help teams concentrate on testing certain features.
  • Describe the tools and resources that teams must collect prior to beginning testing.
  • Provide firm leadership or clients with greater insight into the testing process through greater openness.
  • Determine how long testing may take and it might assist the team in creating a timeline to monitor their progress.
  • Define the roles and obligations of each test team member.
  • Ensure the final software product satisfies the required specifications and achieves the expected goals

How should you structure your test plan?

What therefore should be included in your test plan? To be honest, it depends.
Testing requirements, methods, and standards will vary from product to product and feature to feature. The strategy will also vary depending on the nature and purpose of your Testing. You'll need to adjust your Test Strategy based on details like the type of testing you're doing (Unit Testing is very different from performance and API testing).

But it doesn't mean you want to waste time and effort by re-creating the wheel every time you test new software. Therefore, what should (or might) you include in your test plan? Some general categories of information should form the backbone of your test plan document, and these are:

1.Test Coverage: Exactly what are you looking to test here?

Developing a strategy for testing is really about striking a balance. You want to be thorough without being overbearing, so you need to be explicit about what will (and won't) be included in the test plan. This is necessary since you want to strike the right balance.
After a short introduction in which the goals, high-level scope, and timetable of your test plan are highlighted, you will need to determine what aspects of the system will or will not be subjected to testing.
This is your test scope, and if you don't take the time to be clear with it and answer both what you will test and why you are going to test it, it may soon grow out of hand and become unmanageable.
  • What kinds of tests are you planning to carry out?
  • Why did you go with these particular ones (rather than others)?
When it comes to the criteria and scope of the test, everyone has to be on the same page. When describing your tests and the reasons why they were (or weren't) done, the best practice is to make sure that you utilize vocabulary and standards that are either industry-standard or at least agreed-upon standards. In this approach, there is no room for debate or ambiguity about the subject matter of the test.

2. Procedures: explain how do you intend to carry out these tests?

Next, you will need to provide a detailed explanation of the testing technique that you will use. Include as many details as you possibly can.

  • What are the guidelines for taking your tests?
  • Which metrics are going to be collected, and at what level will they be collected?
  • In how many distinct circumstances or setups will you be doing the test?
  • Do you need to verify the fulfillment of any particular requirements or follow any specific procedures?
In addition to this, you need to be aware of when your test has been deemed successful. To put it another way, what are the criteria for passing or failing each test?

Not only do you need to be aware of this criteria, but there are others as well. Your test plan should also include an explanation of how to deal with the following other typical scenarios:
  • Exit condition. When is it OK to finish testing a feature and presume that the feature is "effective" in completing what it set out to do? When the feature has completed all of the tasks that it intended to do.
  • Termination condition. When is it OK to suspend a test? Is there a certain number of bugs that must be encountered before you should call off the test and start seeking for a fix? What are the procedures that need to be taken in order to close it off and record what has been done up to this point?
  • Refresh requirements. When should you pick up where you left off on a test that you interrupted? What are the stages involved in picking up and evaluating what has already been done?
At this stage, it is also a good idea to state your assumptions as well as the dangers involved. In other words, what are some of the potential outcomes that you are preparing for and what are some of the challenges that you anticipate encountering while performing the test?

In the end, you will need to establish the resource demands of your test project as well as the timeframe. Who is in charge of testing, and what resources—both technological and human—do they need to accomplish their jobs effectively? When exactly are we going to conduct the tests, and for how long will they last?

3.Duties: What are the test results that you want to see?

What kinds of test deliverables are you looking for? This includes the data that you want to gather, the method by which you intend to combine it in reports, as well as the problems and tasks that are going to be sent back to the development team.
Within a section titled "roles and duties," each test output should be assigned to a particular member of your team. This will help ensure that nothing important is overlooked.

It is essential to keep in mind that the preceding is only a general outline of the components that should be included in a test plan. TestQuality Test Plan creation will help you outline your test plan strategy, identify your test coverage, what pass/fail criteria is followed and  guide you for new product releases, updates and features.

Designing a Test Plan in a few simple steps

Let's put it into action and go into the details now that we have a general notion of what we should include in the test plan template. It is necessary to have a step-by-step method for building your test plan and correctly executing on it in order to ensure that the testing scope does not get wildly out of proportion.

You should get started by looking here:

1. Conduct an in-depth examination of the product or feature that is being evaluated.

Before beginning the process of developing a test plan for a product or feature, you must first have a comprehensive grasp of that product or feature. Consider the following scenario: you have just redesigned your ecommerce app and want to test it before launching it to the public. What specific information are you looking for?

  • Examine the documentation that accompanies the project (such as your Statement of Work, project proposal, or even the tasks in your project management tool).
  • Have a conversation with the app's designer and developer to get an understanding of the app's goals, scope, and functioning.
  • Carry out a product walkthrough in order to get an understanding of the capabilities, user flow, and restrictions.

This stage will provide you with the background you need to create the introduction and goals of your test plan, as well as begin planning out the resources you'll need to finish it.

2. Formulate the tactics (as well as the methodology) for the tests that you will perform.

After that, it is time to make a decision on the range of your test strategy. What exactly is covered by the scope of your testing will be determined by a variety of criteria in addition to the product itself or its features. You need to put some effort in and consider the following:

  • Specifications of the product: Which aspects of this function are the most significant and need to be validated?
  • Client requirement: What features are likely to be used the most by your end users?
  • Budget and time frame: How much money do you have available, and how much time and resources do you have to do the testing?
  • Capabilities of the team: Do you possess the necessary level of technical competence to finish each test?
In the case of our ecommerce app makeover, we may specify that functionality, user experience, and checkout flow are in the scope of the project. Stress, performance, and database testing are not included in the scope of this project.

You could also find it helpful to consider this in terms of regularly used testing methods, such as the following:

  • Unit testing involves evaluating the tiniest component of the software or a particular functionality.
  • API Testing involves testing the API that was established for the application in a variety of different circumstances.
  • Integration Testing is refered to testing various software modules or functionalities together.
  • System Testing involves evaluating every aspect of the integrated whole in light of the requirements.
  • Installation Testing: Test the procedure that your clients will go through to install and remove your product.
  • Compatitility Testing involves running your program on a variety of computer platforms, operating systems, and settings.
  • Load and stress testing, happens when you evaluate how well your program performs under increasingly demanding situations (or goes beyond normal conditions).

The most important aspects of your test plan are making the decision on what should be tested and documenting your testing technique. Spend some time to have a solid understanding of your objectives and requirements, and then weigh them against the testing resources you have available.

3. Outline the goals of the test as well as the requirements to pass or fail it.

You need to be aware of when your test may be considered "complete" before you can go on to defining the various tests that you will run. This requires specifying the criteria for passing and failing each individual test, in addition to some of the other items we discussed before, such as the criteria for quitting or suspend a test process.

In order to do this, you will need to determine what constitutes success for each of the specific system metrics that you are reviewing and then identify those metrics. For instance, if you were doing a accessibility evaluation, you may have a look at measures including the following:

The total amount of time it takes to issue a request and get a response is referred to as the response time.
  • The Web accessibility Barrier (WAB): which enables identification and quantification of accessibility trends across Web 1.0 websites and Web 2.0 websites.
  • Failure rate: ratio between number of accessibility violations over the number of failure points.
  • UWEM Score: It is a function for presenting large-scale web accessibility monitoring results. If all tests fail each time they are applied the score reaches its maximum value 1.
  • BIF (Barriers Impact Factor): it evaluates against WCAG 2.0. If there are no accessibility obstacles to be detected, the computation of the ratio will provide continuous results, beginning with the value 0. On the other hand, if all of the tests are unsuccessful each time they are carried out, the total score will reach its highest possible value of 1.
  • WAQM is a fully automatic metric designed to measure conformance (currently to WCAG 1.0) in percentage terms
  • SAMBA it integrates manual and automatic evaluations on the strength of barriers harshness and of tools errors rates.

Keep in mind that you may keep testing and improving for an indefinite amount of time. Therefore, you will need to determine what constitutes "good enough" in order to have your product distributed to end customers.

4. Make preparations for the testing environment

The outcomes of your test plan will be contingent on the feature that you are testing just as much as they will be dependent on the environment that you are testing it in. You need to decide the hardware, software, operating system, and device combinations you're going to test as part of the scope of the project.

When it comes to this matter, it is in your best interest to be as detailed as possible. If you are going to identify an operating system that will be utilized during the test plan, for instance, you need also indicate the OS edition and version in addition to the name of the operating system.

5. Carry out the procedures outlined in your test plan, and monitor your progress using the appropriate Test Management Tool.

After you have established your test plan, there is a certain procedure that you need to carry out. The Software Testing Life Cycle may be thought of as follows: (STLC). The Software Testing Life Cycle, or STLC, is structured similarly to the Software Development Life Cycle in that it progresses through each step of testing and often looks something like this:

  • Requirements/Design review
  • Test planning
  • Test designing
  • Test environment setup
  • Test execution
  • Reporting on tests

This is more or less the general direction that we've been describing all along. But what about actually carrying out the tests according to the plan and monitoring and reporting the outcomes all together in a single tool?

The aim of a Test management tool like TestQuality is to manage and monitor the testing process from test case creation and organization, to running tests and analyzing test results and trends. A good test management solution will assist team members in creating and organizing test cases, managing testing requirements, scheduling tests, informing testers what to test next, executing tests efficiently, and finally tracking and monitoring testing results, progress and trends. Ultimately an effective test case management software solution like TestQuality increases your test efficiency, assists an organization in creating and delivering high-quality and defect-free products.

It's generally reasonable to assume that testing should be started as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. The testing procedure is done in iterations. When one defect is discovered and repaired, it often sheds light on other, more fundamental flaws and may even introduce whole new ones. Testing will have less of an effect on your launch and go-to-market plan if you can get a head start on addressing those issues as soon as possible.

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Give your Test Plan the consideration of a crucial stage.

Testing is not just another item on your to-do list that you can cross off. It's a crucial stage that might completely change the outcome of the project, so great consideration and preparation are required before moving forward.

Your test plan will act as a roadmap for you to follow as you go through this process from beginning to end. It will assist you in comprehending the goals, defining the scope of testing, developing pass/fail criteria, documenting your process, and delivering the documents and artifacts you require to ensure that your product or feature is as good as it can possibly be.

Thanks to TestQuality your will be able to develop your project Test Plan with the possibility of defining your the testing goal, the product's target audience, resources, risks, a step-by-step methodology, test cases, and deliverables all in a single tool.