Key Component of Test Plan

What is a Test Plan?

A Test Plan can be defined as a layout prepared in advance, before beginning with testing activities. Test plan ensures that we have listed all the important aspects of a software application that needs to be covered during the testing process.

An effective test plan helps to estimate the size of the project and the time it will take us to complete the same.

Let us analyse the various test plan components.

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Test Plan Components:

When preparing a test plan, the content of test plan is divided into categories which helps to group activities in a systematic way. Therefore, there are some proposed guidelines as per which a summary of a test plan is prepared.

  • Test Plan ID: A test plan is unique for a given project. Therefore, each test plan must be assigned a unique number so as to make identification simpler. Creating a test id also helps a great deal in configuration management system.
  • Introduction: The introduction part of the test plan must include scope and objectives of the project along with constraints, if any. This part of the document helps to offer an overview of a software application to be developed.
  • References: List related documents as a reference for the current testing process as it helps to relate concepts and makes the task easier. One must include all necessary links that are available along with project plan and configuration management plan.
  • Test items: These are all the software/product versions that are supposed to be tested.
  • Features to be tested: Features that are supposed to be tested should be listed. The features to be tested should be referenced with the design or requirement specifications.
  • Feature not to be tested: In this context, it is important to mention the reason for not testing a particular feature of the application under test.
  • Approach: This component of test plan demands mentioning an overall approach to be adopted in the process of testing. This may consist of specifying the types of testing, the various methods of testing like manual or automated, white box or black box or grey box.
  • Pass/Fail Criteria: This component enlists the criteria(s) used for determining whether a software component has passed or failed testing.
  • Suspension and Resumption Requirements: One needs to list the criteria that shall be used to suspend an activity and when will it resume with the testing activities.
  • Test Deliverables: This component lists the various aspects that are expected from the entire testing process. Test deliverables include test plan, test cases, test scripts, defect logs and test reports.
  • Test environment: The test environment forms an important factor in testing. Test environment components like hardware, software, network etc. should be listed, basically the whole configuration mechanism along with related testing tool, if any.
  • Estimate: An estimate is with regard to the cost and effort that is to be invested in the process of carrying out test activities.
  • Schedule: A summary of schedule mentioning the milestones to be achieved and the time frame within which the testing activities are to be completed.
  • Staffing and Training Needs: Specify what kind of training needs to be given to the staff or team members to sharpen their skills or to provide the skills needed to carry out the testing activities.
  • Responsibilities: List the roles and responsibilities to be assigned to each team member.
  • Risks: Mention the possibility of risk occurrence on the basis of previously identified risk factors, along with plans for mitigating such risks.
  • Assumptions and Dependencies: This includes mentioning the assumptions that have been made to prepare this plan and also the dependencies associated with this test plan.
  • Approvals: This component must take into account the names of the people who shall be responsible for approving the test plan.

The aforementioned components form an integral part of a test plan document, as per IEEE standards.

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