Every time you test how an application or a piece of software works, you need to have a software testing plan. This document is an absolutely crucial step to make before publishing your product. It is an elaborate, step-by-step process that you can always go back to later on, in order to check if you need to carry out some further tests, or to improve something that you maybe missed out.

Bear in mind that, since this plan is such a detailed, thorough document, it requires a lot of time to do it properly, for you certainly don’t want to just put things on a piece of paper as they come – you need to be careful, to consider all the details, and yet, be as concise and to-the-point as possible; highly informative, and yet, easy to read and navigate, without complicated points.

How your software testing plan is going to play out will be contingent on the software you’ll use and the sort of testing you’ll carry out. Load and stress test are, for example, very dissimilar to User Acceptance testing (UAT), so you need to make a test plan streamlined according to the testing you need. If not, it will only lead to confusion, and you don’t need to overcomplicate things. If you deal with some inconvenient issues, it is a lot better for the plan to be quite plain and direct. More details on this topic you can find here.

It is only natural to start from the things typical for every software testing plan – they should be the core of your plan, around which you group any other information. It should always contain the information on what you are testing, how you are going to perform those tests, and how you will define your results and outcome.

Every other decision you need to make can be based on a particular test. However, it is appropriate to start a plan with a brief introduction, which will include a few sentences about what you will be talking about, and, if necessary, additional info on the software. For better reading, it is smart to include the contents section. It is typical for a testing planer to end the document with a sign-off, in order to make it possible for the senior members to approve the plan officially.

Testing Plan Scope

By defining in detail what you will be testing and what not, you clearly establish the scope of your work. You are to take notes on the full scope of the multitude of the tests you are performing, and what are the parameters. You also need to note what tests you don’t carry out, just to avoid possible mistakes and slip-ups. The aforementioned sign-off serves as your cover in case some issues or bugs appear later. It can all be investigated without pointing fingers. It is seminal to use standard terminology and testing modules, in order not to leave anything unclear nor questionable and dubious. This is where we come back to the point about being as straightforward as possible when making this kind of a plan. 

Testing master plan

The next thing you should define is your testing master plan. This is probably the part of the document which needs to be the most thorough, for you don’t want to leave out anything important. This way your team will know what you plan to do, and they may help you by revealing any possible gaps or mistakes. You’ll need to outline the risks involved, and how to circumvent them if possible. This will simultaneously provide the requirements for carrying out the plan, and how to fight any problems that may occur. 

The required resources, such as hardware and software you’ll need in order to complete the assignment also need to be written down. The same goes for the required human sources which are to help you carry out the task. Every member of every team has responsibilities that need to be clearly stated before the whole procedure starts, in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Another part of the plan that needs to be clearly stated are the predicted outcomes of this testing. They refer to the kind of data that you’ll gather, and the ways you are going to compile and organize them, with all the documentation that will be produced as a part of obtaining results. Each part of this work should be assigned to a member of your team, together with a deadline, for responsibility increases productivity in most cases. You need to be absolutely clear when it comes to criteria for a fail or a pass, together with the procedures you’re going to carry out if the software does fail your tests.

Depending on the circumstances, there may be a time for you to stop your testing temporarily. It is essential that you explain the situation, and the way you plan to carry on when the time comes.