Saturday, December 15, 2007

When Less May Be More - A Lighter Weight Test Plan

I was talking to a couple of colleagues about test plans this week; both the format of the plans and the content.

The IEEE standard is well, a "standard." It may, however, be intimidating to people unaccustomed to software testing. And, it lacks an easy to use construct for differentiating between classes of tests. The discussion of test plans came up this week as one of my colleagues is trying to - gently, but effectively - introduce a structured test process into an organization whose members are largely unfamiliar with it. He wanted very much to take a medical approach to this and "first, do no harm." For him, a lightweight adaptation of the the IEEE standard is a better starting point. We came up with this template for a test plan:

Introduction - what are we doing?
Test Strategy - how are we doing it
Test Priorities - what's most important
Scope - What's tested?
Scope - What's beyond the scope of testing?
Test Pass/Fail Criteria - how do we know that it's good or bad
Test Deliverables - docs and programs that we'll build
Test Cases - Functional Tests
* Tests mapped to product features
Test Cases - Non-functional tests - whichever apply[1]
* Compatibility testing
* Compliance testing
* Documentation testing
* Endurance testing
* Load testing
* Localization testing and Internationalization testing
* Performance testing
* Resilience testing
* Security testing
* Scalability testing
* Stress testing
* Usability testing
* Volume testing
Test Environment/Configurations
Responsibilities - who's doing what
Schedule/Milestones - when are they doing it
Risks and Contingencies - what might go wrong and how we'll handle it
Approvals - do we agree?
References - pointers to background docs
Revision history - why did the plan change and how?
Appendices - anything else?

It's worth noting how this template explicitly separates the descriptions of functional and non-functional tests as the differences between these test class definitions may be new concepts to some of the team members. What's that? Are these test class differences also a new concept to you? I'll discuss this subject in the next post to this blog!



P.S. My Fedora friends have picked up on this test plan outline - it's the basis for their test plan template:

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