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Test Plan in Software Testing: Types and Steps to Create One

22nd Jan, 2024
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    Test Plan in Software Testing: Types and Steps to Create One

    Software testing evaluates and demonstrates that a software product or function performs as intended. Software Testing training has advantages such as preventing problems, lowering development costs, and improving performance. I understand the importance of test plan in software testing, which outline strategies, goals, timelines, estimates, deliverables, and the necessary resources.

    I've been involved in crafting test plans, and in this article, I'll cover various aspects such as the methodology for building them, their objectives, and more. Software testing, in my perspective, is a key component in the software development process, ensuring the reliability and functionality of the end product.

    What is a Test Plan in Software Testing?

    The success of a project can be assessed by its test plan. It begins at the beginning of the project with the bare minimum of details, and as the project moves forward, more information is added. The process of test planning is ongoing and is done at every stage of a product's life. In other words, a test plan is a document that outlines the scope, available resources, strategy, and timetable for the testing activities that will be carried out as part of a project. 

    There is a test plan document, the goal of which is to give readers a thorough overview of the testing strategy for testing a project. It outlines the many features and specifications that will be evaluated as part of the project's scope, the entrance and exit criteria for each phase and the dependencies that go along with them. This document also describes the dangers and necessary countermeasures to test and validate the application’s functionality independently. Finally, the plan outlines the methods that will be used to test each feature as well as how they will be tested. 

    Types of Test Plans in Software Testing 

    1. Master Test Plan 

    The master test plan is a document that goes into great depth on the planning and management of testing at various test levels. It provides a bird's eye view of the important choices made, the tactics used, and the testing effort put forth for the project. The master test plan includes the list of tests that must be run. Test coverage, connections between various test levels and associated code tasks, test execution strategies, etc. 

    2. Test Phase Plan 

    The testing plans that must be followed for each test level, or occasionally test type, are described in detail in the level test plan. The level test plan typically includes further information on the levels listed in the master testing plan. They would offer the testing schedule, benchmarks, activities, templates, and other information that isn't included in the master plan. 

    3. Specific Test Plans 

    Plans for conducting particular testing, such as performance and security tests. For instance, performance testing is software testing that aims to ascertain how a system responds and performs under a specific load. Security testing is software testing that aims to ascertain the system's vulnerabilities and whether its data and resources are safe from potential intruders. 

    Objectives of Software Test Plan 

    When it comes to creating a test plan for software, it's crucial to grasp its objectives. Let's explore the key reasons that make a test plan essential in the software testing journey.

    • It provides an overview of where to start and stop the work. 
    • To be precise about the number of resources needed to finish the work. 
    • Timeline, based on the number of hours and workers needed. 
    • It has every detail from beginning to end, just like a prototype. 
    • To create the detailed tasks that must be carried out in the project's modules. 
    • It serves as a guide for following rules when the project is completed phase by phase. 
    • It will assist in considering the project’s challenges and identifying solutions. 
    • All stakeholder interactions will be taken into consideration and organized. 

    Importance of Test Plan

    An effective software development test plan is a game-changer. It not only shapes our approach and addresses challenges but also fosters communication within the team and stakeholders.In this section, I will uncover the importance of a software development test plan and how it adapts to changes while keeping testing aligned with project requirements.

    • Writing a test strategy directs our thought process. Writing a test plan forces us to face the difficulties ahead and concentrate our thoughts on crucial issues. 
    • A communication channel is formed with other project team members, peers, testers, managers, and other stakeholders through which the test strategy and the project can impact one another. This is unquestionably true concerning organizational-wide testing policies and motives, project and product risks, test scope, resource concerns, objectives, essential areas to test, constraint considerations, and the testability of the item. 
    • We handle change with the use of the test plan. Early on in the project, we changed our plans as we learned new information. We modify our plans as the project progresses and the situation changes. We can keep testing in line with project requirements by revising the strategy at significant milestones. We finalize our plans as we conduct the tests and base them on the outcomes. 

    Components of the Test Plan in Software Testing

    Exploring the key components of a software test plan is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the testing process. From resource allocation to risk management and task scheduling, each element contributes significantly to the success of the testing endeavor. Let's delve into the critical components that form the backbone of an effective software test plan.

    1. Resource Allocation: This component specifies which tester will work on which test. 
    2. Training Needs: The staff and skill levels required to carry out test-related duties should be specified by the test planner. Any specialized training needed to complete a task should also be indicated. 
    3. Scheduling: A task networking tool should be used to determine and record task durations. Establish, keep track of, and plan test milestones. 
    4. Tools: Specifies the instruments used for testing, problem reporting, and other pertinent tasks. 
    5. Risk Management: Describes the dangers that could arise during software testing as well as the problems that the software itself might face if it is published without enough testing. 
    6. Approach: The concerns to be addressed when testing the target program are thoroughly covered in this portion of the test plan. 

    How to Write an Effective Test Plan [Step-by-Step] 

    When preparing a test plan in software testing, it's crucial to address key sections to ensure its effectiveness. Let's explore the essential components that should be covered for a well-rounded and successful test plan.

    The below sections should be covered for an effective test plan: 

    Step 1: Test Plan Identifier 

    The name of the document, its version number, and the year it was created are all included in the title of the test plan document, along with the name and corporate logo of the QA provider. 

    Step 2: Introduction 

    Here, we give a quick description of our project plan. A note to a client serves as the introduction.  

    Step 3: Test Items 

    The overall functionality to be tested is a test item and includes installation, registration, checkout, etc. It serves as a concise summary of the Test Plan's information. Each of the items will be covered in more detail later. Depending on the objective or type of testing, the list may need to be cut or increased. 

    Step 4: Features to be Tested 

    This section contains a more detailed list of features to inspect throughout a given period, which is what most people think a test plan should have. 

    Step 5: Approach 

    As a result, a client can obtain a thorough understanding of the testing activities. We outline the methods and types of testing we'll employ. This section also contains test cases. 

    Step 6: Test Deliverables 

    We inform a client about the materials they will receive to see the work's results, as the term implies. Test results are typically presented in test deliverables as metrics, such as the number of tests run, defects discovered, etc. Metrics are, in a sense, quantitative measures of quality, but they shouldn't be the only standard used to gauge the quality of the work. 

    Step 7: Staffing and Training Needs 

    The team might not fully comprehend the details if we are given the task of testing software for nuclear reactors. It is useful to have a lecture or brief course from experts when the team is testing a project from a sector they are unfamiliar with, putting exaggerations aside. Understanding the specifics of a project will help increase the task’s effectiveness. 

    Step 8: Schedule

    Include project deadlines in the project plan. The team must assess the speed or the time it will take to complete the tests. If there are many testing phases, specify their time and order. 

    Step 9: Planning Risks and Contingencies 

    The Software Risk Issues section and this part crossover. We list the risks and explain how to manage them and what to do in case of force majeure, in addition to listing the dangers. 

    How to Create or Find a Test Plan Template

    ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119-3 is the main international standard for test documentation, including test plans, test cases, and test procedures for test plan templates in software testing. This standard includes guidelines for both conventional and agile test plans and illustrations of each test plan form. The template might alternatively be based on a few well-known publications on software testing. 

    1. Test Plan Template - 01 
    2. Test Plan Template - 02 

    How to Deal with Changes to a Test Plan 

    Test objectives, scope, and other more important aspects are often more resilient to change than other details. To withstand the effects of modifications, we also need to implement the bare minimum details for the test cases. A recommended practice is to refer to schedules, personnel, and other elements so that modifications can be made without necessitating the creation of a new test plan version. We recommend enrolling in KnowledgeHut’s Software Testing training course to get the hang of testing in a detailed manner. 


    Understanding the significance of software testing and planning is integral to ensuring an optimal project workflow, and I've come to appreciate how efficiently we can execute these plans. In this article, we delved into the realm of test plan management tools. We started by exploring its definition, objectives, advantages, the method to implement it, and the process of creating a template for effective utilization. By incorporating these elements, we can enhance our ability to execute efficient and effective test plans in the dynamic landscape of software testing.. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What are the test plan and their types?

    A test plan is a comprehensive document that lists the test strategy, goals, timetable, projections, deadlines, and resources needed to complete that specific project. The sorts of test plans are as follows: Master Test Plan, Test phase plan, and Specific test Plan.  

    2What is a Test Plan with an example?

    A test plan is a detailed document that outlines the testing methodology, objectives, schedule, forecasts, due dates, and resources required to finish that particular project. To finish the wishlist function on an e-commerce website by a certain date and to include the test cases that would be used to test the feature, for instance, a team might develop a test plan. 

    3What is included in the test plan?

    The test approach, goals, timetable, projections, deadlines, and resources needed to complete that specific project are all included in the test plan. 

    4What is the difference between a test case and a test plan?

    The test plan contains the goals, test approach, and resources for completing a task, while the test case is the input on which the project is tested. 

    5What are the five most important components in a test plan?

    A test plan’s five most crucial elements are the test strategy, objectives, schedule, estimates, and deadlines. 


    Simran Kaur Arora

    Trainer & Consultant

    Experienced Senior Content Developer with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. Enthusiastic and dedicated person in the field of Computer Science. Skilled at my work area and believe in working with passion and work ethics. Have a good understanding of programming languages, operating systems, and databases. I have good communication skills and interested in staying updated with technology and learning new things.

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