The importance of testing in the software industry is undeniable. Testing is a process involving various activities like writing test cases, setting up test environments, creating test data, automating test cases, strategizing testing efforts, and more. Having a comprehensive approach to tackle each of these steps involved in testing is a smart way to go about it. Test planning is a technique that facilitates this. Let’s take a look at how to go about test planning.
What is a test plan?
In the simplest of terms, a test plan is a document that outlines the process of testing for a project. A well-crafted test plan is a blueprint for testers, defining various aspects of the testing process like
- Scope and Objectives: Defining the scope of testing, which functionalities or components need to be tested, and the overall goals of the testing effort help to prioritize efforts and focus on critical areas.
- Test Strategy: Test strategy refers to outlining the high-level approach to testing, including the types of testing that will be performed like unit testing, integration testing, system testing, or regression testing, the testing environment, and the tools that will be used.
- Test Schedule: Creating a timeline for the testing activities, specifying when each phase of testing will occur, and aligning it with the overall project timeline streamlines testing efforts.
- Test Resources: Identifying the human resources, expertise, and roles required for testing like testers, test leads, developers, and any other stakeholders involved in the testing process.
- Test Environment: Describing the hardware, software, and network configurations required for testing ensures that the testing environment mimics the production environment as closely as possible.
- Test Data: Adequate and representative test data is essential for thorough testing. This includes both normal and boundary case data sets.
- Risks and Contingencies: This means identifying potential risks and challenges that could impact the testing process and outlining contingency plans to address those risks.
- Test Deliverables: Listing the documentation and reports that will be produced during the testing process, such as test plans, test cases, test scripts, defect reports, and test summaries is essential.
- Defect Management: Outlining the process for reporting, tracking, and managing defects or issues identified during testing. This includes procedures for categorizing and prioritizing defects for resolution.
- Exit Criteria: Defining the conditions that must be met to consider the testing phase complete and the product ready for release.
- Communication: Establishing communication channels and mechanisms for keeping stakeholders informed about the progress and results of testing.
Why should you do test planning?
Test planning is a thought-out documentation. Though it might seem time-consuming, its benefits are manifold. Especially in an environment driven by Agile, you need to calculate your efforts and maximize your outcomes. During the process of test planning, you will come across the subtle intricacies involved when it comes to resource allocation because you want the right people and tools available for testing at the right time. Through test planning, you can define the scope of testing and outline which features or components need to be tested. This ensures that all critical functionalities are covered and tested adequately.
In some industries, regulatory standards and compliance requirements necessitate rigorous testing. A well-planned testing process can help identify defects early in the development cycle. This minimizes the need for extensive rework and reduces the cost and time associated with fixing defects at later stages. A big advantage of embracing the practice of test planning is risk management. You can identify potential risks and challenges that could impact the testing process or the software’s performance. By addressing these risks proactively, you end up minimizing the chances of issues arising later in the development cycle. Moreover, the insights gained from test planning can be used to improve testing processes and methodologies in future projects.
How to go about test planning?
When it comes to actually doing the test planning, it can all feel very daunting. This is when you need to refer to the below points and systematically go about this process.
First and foremost, understand the product
As basic as this sounds, this understanding plays a crucial role. Your test plan could be for an entire product or a smaller portion of the product. Start by examining these features and understanding the client’s use cases and expectations of them.
Demarcate the scope of testing
Now that you’ve analyzed the basics, let’s get to work. Time and effort are precious commodities and your test plan should optimize its usage. Scope, over here refers to what needs to be tested and also how it should be tested. Wisely set the scope of testing so that those referring to the test plan know what they need to focus on.
Devise a test strategy
Test strategy delves into the actual techniques that will be used by the testing team. You can start by identifying the levels of testing and then associate different forms of testing with each level. For example, if you are devising this test plan for an e-commerce website then load testing is a mandatory inclusion to your strategy.
Schedule testing activities
With a fair understanding of the ground to cover and how to cover it, you are in a good position to break down the whole task into smaller activities and estimate efforts. Using a test schedule you can keep track of these smaller activities and ensure that deliverables are tested by the expected time.
Roles and responsibilities
When working in a team, it is important to know what needs to be done by whom and when. Now that you have the breakup of tasks along with the effort estimate for each of them, use this information to allocate appropriate resources to each of these tasks. In fact, in teams where resources are scarce but work is in abundance, like in startups, you will see team members toggling between testing activities and other tasks. You can play an important role here by giving timelines for the completion of testing activities so that team members can plan other tasks around it.
Prepare for risk management
Any experienced tester would second the thought that no matter how much you plan, something always goes south. However, that does not mean that you should ditch the planning phase. Instead, prepare for these situations through risk management and mitigation strategies.
If you look at a test plan template, you will see that you need to mention details like test criteria, test environment, test deliverables, and even test data. With the crux of the testing activity documented, you can easily define these details as well.
Tips to help with test planning
Here are some additional tips that will help you to devise articulate test plans:
- In your test scope section, mention what should not be tested as well. This could include features or use cases and even testing types like performance testing or security testing.
- It is a good idea to leverage automation testing wherever possible to save time and derive reliable results. Highlight in your plan where the testers should rely on automation testing and for what. This information will go in the test strategy section.
- For every testing activity, you might end up using tools. It could be something as simple as Excel sheets for saving test data to something a bit more sophisticated like a no-code tool for test automation. Be sure to mention these tools as well in the plan.
- In the risk assessment section, be sure to highlight the expected risks and then give the counter-measures in case of these situations. This will give better context to the testers.
- Test deliverables are a necessity and hence you should mention those that the team will require to document like test case scripts, artifacts like screenshots and recordings of test cases, defect reports, and test logs and reports.
- Having a systematic approach to reporting and resolving issues identified during testing is important. Mention these details in the test plan along with tracking tools that can be used to achieve this. You can also mention priorities like blocker or critical that can be given to these issues and the consequent actions.
- Mention the pass and fail criteria that can be used for evaluating test results.
- The test environment should be a close replica of the real-world environment. This also means that any test data that is used should mimic actual conditions. Be specific with these details in your test plan so that testers can take care of these details.
Make test planning effective with automation testing tools
Leveraging a powerful automation testing tool like testRigor will make the chances of your test plan’s success higher. Functional, UI and end-to-end testing often tend to be complicated with traditional testing tools since test scripts become bulky and maintenance is a challenge. That is not the case with testRigor.
No test maintenance woes
Traditional test automation tools are notorious for incurring high test maintenance costs due to flaky test executions and rigid test case implementation processes like relying on implementation details of web elements. With testRigor, this issue does not exist thanks to its AI-powered engine. You can keep creating your test cases and leave it to testRigor to do the heavy lifting.
Simple test case creation
The beauty of this tool is that it uses AI in ways that make automation testing super easy. Firstly, the test scripts are in plain English language. You can simply write ‘click on “logout”’ and testRigor will click on the logout button if it is visible on the screen. With this tool, you can also bypass the hassle of identifying web elements using their implementation details like CSS or XPath attributes.
You can either write your test scripts using the test case editor in English language or use the record-and-playback tool to record test cases in plain English and then edit them in the test editor. There’s also the option to let testRigor use its generative AI feature to create a fully functional test case for you with just a description and URL.
All under one roof
With testRigor, you can test a variety of applications that are web-based, native, or hybrid, across any mobile device or even desktops. You can further expand your test ecosystem by integrating testRigor with various tools and platforms that offer CI/CD capabilities, device farms and browser options, issue tracking systems, test case management systems, and databases.
If you are new to automation testing or are already familiar with it, rest assured knowing that opting for testRigor will give you better test coverage in much less time. If you already have an automation testing tool in use, migrating to testRigor is not going to be a hassle, and neither is there a need to worry about a steep learning curve here. This cloud-based platform is intuitive and user-friendly and has a lot to offer.
Test planning sets clear objectives for the testing process. These objectives help align testing efforts with the project’s goals and requirements, ensuring that testing efforts are not futile. By understanding the product, defining the scope, devising a test strategy, scheduling testing activities, assigning roles and responsibilities, and planning for risks, you can create a test plan that is effective. You can further your chances at success by leveraging automation testing using no-code tools like testRigor to ensure that the focus remains on testing without the distractions introduced by automation like test maintenance efforts and test creation complexities.