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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Creating a software test plan - Need

Anybody who has worked in the field of software development would have heard of a software test plan. How many of you have actually understood the need for a software test plan?

Some of the reasons for making a comprehensive test plan are:

* Preparation: To assure that all reasonable aspects of running a test have been considered including getting test data in place, getting the required hardware and software.
* Communication and Training: To train those who need to assist with the test and to enable them to understand the overall perspective.
* Effectiveness: To provide a mechanism for outlining test needs, limitations (listing assumptions), and justification for purposes of setting expectations, acquiring resources, investigating unexpected results, assuring normalcy and effectiveness.
* Legal and Regulatory Prudence: To enable replication and protection of discoveries made, to mitigate potential litigation costs from use of those discoveries, and to help provide evidence to show regulatory bodies of efficacy. A test plan is an important of various software quality process such as ISO and CMM, and helps provide internal or external customers with the confidence that the testing activity is being well planned
* Improve testing coverage and efficiency. Without some form of test plans and scripts available, the testing effort typically degenerates into an ad-hoc effort where no one knows what their colleagues are testing and management can never say for sure that the application has been tested sufficiently.
* Test plans are useful tools to organize, manage and schedule the testing effort. Since the complexity of software and Web applications continues to grow, a well thought-out test plan can greatly facilitate the testing work.

So what is a test plan?
The Test Plan describes the overall approach to development, integration, qualification, and acceptance testing. It describes plans for testing software systems; test environment to be used for the testing; identifies tests to be
performed, and provides schedules for test activities. 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.

Details of a test plan:
In software testing, a test plan gives detailed testing information regarding an upcoming testing effort, including

* Scope of testing
* Schedule
* Test Deliverables
* Release Criteria
* Risks and Contingencies

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