Test Plan FAQ

1. Why you cannot download a Word version of this test plan.

I have received numerous requests for an MS Word version of the test plan.
However, although the web pages were created directly from an word document, I no longer have a copy of that original word document.

Also, having prepared numerous test plans, I know that the content is more important than the format. See the next point for more info on the content of a test plan.

2. What a test plan should contain

A software project test plan is a document that describes the objectives, scope, approach, and focus of a software testing effort. The process of preparing a test plan is a useful way to think through the efforts needed to validate the acceptability of a software product. The completed document will help people outside the test group understand the 'why' and 'how' of product validation. It should be thorough enough to be useful but not so thorough that no one outside the test group will read it.

A test plan states what the items to be tested are, at what level they will be tested, what sequence they are to be tested in, how the test strategy will be applied to the testing of each item, and describes the test environment.

A test plan should ideally be organisation wide, being applicable to all of an organisations software developments.

The objective of each test plan is to provide a plan for verification, by testing the software, the software produced fulfils the functional or design statements of the appropriate software specification. In the case of acceptance testing and system testing, this generally means the Functional Specification.

The first consideration when preparing the Test Plan is who the intended audience is – i.e. the audience for a Unit Test Plan would be different, and thus the content would have to be adjusted accordingly.

You should begin the test plan as soon as possible. Generally it is desirable to begin the master test plan as the same time the Requirements documents and the Project Plan are being developed. Test planning can (and should) have an impact on the Project Plan. Even though plans that are written early will have to be changed during the course of the development and testing, but that is important, because it records the progress of the testing and helps planners become more proficient.

What to consider for the Test Plan:

1. Test Plan Identifier
2. References
3. Introduction
4. Test Items
5. Software Risk Issues
6. Features to be Tested
7. Features not to be Tested
8. Approach
9. Item Pass/Fail Criteria
10. Suspension Criteria and Resumption Requirements
11. Test Deliverables
12. Remaining Test Tasks
13. Environmental Needs
14. Staffing and Training Needs
15. Responsibilities
16. Schedule
17. Planning Risks and Contingencies
18. Approvals
19. Glossary

3. Standards for Software Test Plans

Several standards suggest what a test plan should contain, including the IEEE.

The standards are:

IEEE standards: 
 829-1983 IEEE Standard for Software Test Documentation 
 1008-1987 IEEE Standard for Software Unit Testing 
 1012-1986 IEEE Standard for Software Verification & Validation Plans 
 1059-1993 IEEE Guide for Software Verification & Validation Plans  

The IEEE website is here:http://www.ieee.org

4. What happened to the links page?

Nearly all the links on this page became invalid and I was fed up getting emails telling me so. So I deleted it. It's gone. I would instead recommend stickyminds.com

5. Why I published the test plan

Well, when I first went looking for sample test plans, I could not find anything useful. Eventually I found several sites, which I included on my links page. However, I was not satisfied with many of the plans that I found, so I posted it on my website. And, I have to say that I have been astounded by the level of interest shown, and amazed at the number of emails I have received about it.

6. Copyright, Ownership & What you can do with the plan

Well, I published with the aim that it be used, so if you are going to use it to create a test plan for internal use, please feel free to copy from it.

However, if the test plan is to be published externally in any way [web, magazine, training material etc.], then you must include a reference to me, Bazman, and a link to my website.

That's not too much to ask now, is it?

7. If you really, really, want it, you can get it here

It's not the original, but I have another test plan, in its entirety, that you may download here.

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