Either it is a piece of software or new functionality updated in the application, it must be tested thoroughly before distributing it to the client. For testing it thoroughly, you can break it if possible; however, testing ensures a high-quality product is delivered. It is also preferred to use both manual and automated methods of QA testing software. The technique being used for checking software functionalities is described in test plans. Test plan components specify each move to be taken to achieve the desired outcome. The plan also explains the estimated resources, threats, and staff highlighted in the project. With a test plan in software testing, you ensure the following facts about the software: 

  • Meets all the specifications that influenced its design and production. 
  • Software responding as desired to a variety of inputs. 
  • Meets the performance requirements as expected by the customer. 
  • Easy to install and run in all intended environments. 
  • Resulting in the intended outcomes by you and your stakeholders.

Coming to the point, a detailed test plan is quite complicated to strike. As much as possible, you need to test the software to ensure that you don’t overlook any apparent mistakes. However, you cannot overwhelm your testing team with testing tasks, delaying final publications, or finding new errors again and again. 

Areas to Focus when Creating a Test Plan Document

No doubt, certain aspects are brought into consideration while testing an application. All in all, here are a few key areas that serve as the document’s foundation; one can focus on a test plan to obtain overall results. 

1- The Scope of the Project

Designing a test plan for your project is entirely about finding the right balance. If you want to create an ideal executable test plan, then you should be clear on what will be included in the test plan. Following a detailed explanation about the highlights of your test plan goals, high-level scope, and schedule of the plan to be on track with what you should test and what not to test. It is basically the scope of the test plan; if you fail to specify these, you will not conclude what to test and why to test. In this way, the whole project of software testing will quickly spiral out of control. The two major questions that you need to answer while specifying the scope of the test plan are: 

  • What kind of tests will run for particular software testing?
  • Why did you choose these types of tests

However, you also have to ensure that test conditions and scope are agreed upon by both the ends (QA team and the client). 

2- Procedures: How will you perform tests?

In this step, you have to work on the test plan in detail and dive into depth as much as possible. From where to begin and how to begin, here are some questions to answer and prepare your procedure of testing:

  • What guidelines can the software test adhere to? 
  • What metrics are you expecting to collect, and at what phase will you manage them? 
  • How many different configurations or conditions will you test? 
  • Do you have any special requirements to be tested?

All these questions will ultimately give you a final statement of a pass or fail about the test condition. However, the testing criteria don’t end here; there are a few other conditions also to include in your test plan, like: 

  • The condition where to stop. When should you stop testing software and conclude that testing is “successful” in achieving expected end goals? 
  • When should you put a pause to testing software? Is there any such stage where you can stop testing and start finding solutions for the detected errors? How will you know this is the end and now you have to start fixing errors detected? 
  • How will you know that you have fixed the deducted bugs and now you have to resume the suspended test? What are the steps for checking and finding what has been improved?

In this way, you list everything in detail from resource requirements and the final plan for software testing projects. Furthermore, you will also know who is responsible for research, what resources are required (both technical and manual), where and how long will the testing procedure take place? 

3- Desired Outcomes: What are desired outcomes you want to achieve from the test?

At the end of the day, what are the test deliverables you are expecting? These are the results drawn from the test, reports compiled, the problems detected and solutions provided by the development team. To ensure test deliverables are not being overlooked, you can divide the responsibilities into different groups. 

Thus, this is just a brief outline of how you should carry out the test plan. You will start building a library of the test plan models with time, which acts as a guide for a new software testing project. 

4 Steps to Create and Run a Test Plan for your New Software Testing Project

Now you are clear about the primary focus areas of your test plan template, let’s dig into a guide. To ensure your testing process is being carried out on the right track, it’s essential to have a step-by-step process to create a test plan and execute it. 

  1. Analyze the Software or Functionalities you’re testing
  2. Design the test strategies you are going to use
  3. Define the test objectives and deliverables as well as pass or fail criteria
  4. Plan the testing conditions and scenarios
  5. Execute your test plan, track test progress with your testing tools, and generate reports.

5- Analyze the Software or Functionalities you’re testing.

Before starting the testing process of a product, you need to have a deep knowledge of the product to create a suitable test plan. For instance, you have just redesigned a website and to test it before launching it. What information is required to test the website? 

  • Have conservation with the designer and developer to understand the site’s scope, objectives, and features. 
  • Go through the complete project documentation like SOW, project proposal, and the tasks performed by various team members. 
  • For more information, perform a product walkthrough to learn more about functionality, user flow, and limitations.

6- Design the test strategies you are going to use

After getting deep knowledge of the product, it’s time to decide the scope of the test plan. The scope of the test plan entirely depends on the number of factors that need to be tested. For defining the scope of the project, you need to think about it. 

  • Customer Requirements
  • Budget and timelines of the project
  • Software features and functionalities
  • Team abilities and technical expertise

These were just some general aspects of software testing; you might be thinking of technical terms commonly used in testing approaches like: 

  • Unit Testing means testing small pieces of software or specific features. 
  • API testing: APIs are created for testing the software in multiple scenarios. 
  • System testing means testing the complete system against its requirements. 
  • Install testing is for testing the installation and uninstalling of the software. 
  • Compatibility testing: Test your software against different hardware, OS, and working environments. 
  • Load and stress testing: It is for making the system ready for workload increment cases; it performs as desired even workload increases.

7- Define the test objectives and deliverables as well as pass or fail criteria

While defining different test conditions and criteria, you should also know what will be out of it and when you can say that the test is done. It tells about the pass or fail criteria of the testing phases. To conclude the test, you have to identify individual system metrics and what success means. Somehow, you’re testing a system; the metrics can revolve around the following factors:

  • Response time: Total time required to the system to fetch input and get a response from it. 
  • Delay time: How much time does it take to receive the first byte after sending a request. 
  • Average Load Time: Average calculated time it needs to deliver the request. 
  • Peak response time: Longest delayed time it takes to fulfill the request.
  • Requests per second: How many requests the system handles every second?
  • Transactions Pass/Fail: Total count of successful and unsuccessful requests. 
  • Memory Usage: How much memory is being used to process requests?

8- Plan the testing conditions and scenarios

The outcomes you are expecting depend upon the features you are testing with some test data. You also need to determine what combination of hardware, software, and operating system is being used for the test. The combinations, test data, and other conditions resulting in desired outcomes are the most suitable ones. 

9- Execute your test plan, track test progress with your testing tools, and generate reports.

Once done with setting all factors of the test plan in place, there is a list of tasks you need to follow to end. Similar to the Software Development life cycle (SDLC), we also have Software Testing Life Cycles (STLC) with the following phases: 

  • Design Review
  • Test Planning
  • Test Designing
  • Test Environment Setup 
  • Test Execution
  • Test Reporting

It was the whole theory-based explanation about testing a system so far. But how can you actually test the software with the least effort? With the help of tools like QATrail, it is easy to set up and track the number of testing scenarios. 

QATrails customizable test automation tools are used to track, create and execute different test plans and strategies. Either testing your software manually or automatically, you have to make a test plan. 

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