What is a test plan?
A test plan is the master document that contains all available information related to a testing project. This document is usually presented in the form of a list, where the expected behaviors for every use case are detailed. Testers are generally asked to “Pass” or “Fail” these test cases, depending of the verification’s result. An optimal test plan covers every aspect of a project, from functionality to design. In a good QA process, test plan runs are done on every new version, to ensure that every use case is verified between versions. In most QA departments, test plans represent the core strategy of any testing cycle.
Why should you use test plans?
Almost every QA departments (if not all of them) use test plans during their test cycles and there is a plethora of reasons explaining why. One of the most popular reasons is probably that when it is properly built, the test plan ensures that nothing gets forgotten and that the test cases are verified as they were designed, whether it is by following a specific order or by performing actions that wouldn’t necessarily be performed by real-life users. By clearly stating the course of actions to follow during testing, test plans guide the tests effort and ensure consistency and diligence.
Another good reason to use test plans is that it provides backup for both the development team and the QA team. For example, if a bug is missed by the QA team, the development team can legitimately ask for explanations if that bug was supposed to be covered by one of the test plan’s test case. Inversely, if a bug was found in version A and listed in the test plan, fixed in version B and reappears in version C, the QA team can use the test plan to show that the bug was fixed at some point and was reintroduced in a later version.
Finally, test plans are good to organize the thoughts of a testing team. On bigger projects requiring long testing cycles, it is very frequent for testers to suffer from tunnel vision. While a good tester always remains focused, staying on a project for too long sometimes makes the testing team blinded to known issues. For example, if a tester gets told not to log any visual issue for the first few versions of a project, he might forget to log these in later versions. With a test plan specifying to make sure images are displayed properly on a given page, the tester cannot forget about it, independently of what he was told at the beginning of the development process.
How can we help?
Our team is composed of experienced testers, as some of them worked in the QA industry for over 10 years now. With experience come good reflexes and good practices. We build various test plans on a weekly basis for every project that we test internally. We don’t want to brag, but we feel like we got really good at it. So don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help building a good test plan for your project! Not only are we good candidates to help you, but we like doing it. We’ll gladly help you build the right test plan for your needs.