How to Create a Test Plan for Software Testing ?

How to create a test plan for software testing

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Learning “How to Create a Test Plan” in Software testing is integral to ensuring the software meets all the requirements and works correctly. A test plan is a document explaining how you’ll test the software, what resources you’ll need, and when it should be done. Creating a good test plan is vital to spot any issues. In this guide, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to make a practical test plan so that your software testing process will be successful.

What is a Test Plan?

A test plan is a document that outlines the strategy, objectives, resources, and schedule of a software testing process. The test plan will typically include details such as the type and number of tests that need to be conducted, the purpose of each test, the required tools, and how test results will be analyzed and reported. It is regularly updated throughout the testing process to reflect any discoveries or changes in strategy.

Why are Test Plans important?

A test plan is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it is a communication tool between stakeholders and testing team members. This ensures that everyone understands what, why, and how to test. It will also outline how to report test findings, what to consider as a pass or fail, and any other criteria that may be applicable. Besides, it will outline the expected outcomes and ensure that testing happens according to plan. This is why it is important to know how to create a test plan.

What are the Objectives of a Software Test Plan?

The objectives of a test plan are to define the scope, approach, and resources required for testing. It aims to establish test objectives and deliverables, identify test tasks and responsibilities, outline the test environment and configuration, and define the test schedule to ensure efficient and effective testing.

A detailed test plan further assists individuals in working together to complete the project and maintain consistent and transparent communication throughout the testing process.

Components of a Test Plan

A Test Plan is a document that outlines the strategy, scope, objectives, resources, and schedule of a testing process. It is an essential part of software development and testing, as it provides a roadmap for the execution of tests. The components of a Test Plan include:

  1. Test goals: The test plan should explain what the testing is meant to accomplish, including the features and functions that will be tested and any requirements that must be met.
  2. Scope and approach: It should also outline what will be tested, how it will be tested, and which testing methods or approaches will be used.
  3. Test environment: It should specify the hardware, software, and network configurations needed for the tests and any third-party tools or systems used.
  4. The test plan should include details about what you’ll be doing when you’ll be doing it, and what resources you need to do it.
  5. It should list the deliverables, like test cases, scripts, and reports that will be created during testing. It should also have a schedule outlining the testing timeline, including the start and end dates.
  6. The plan should identify the personnel (people), equipment, and facilities you’ll need to complete the tests.
  7. Potential problems: The test plan should list any potential issues arising during the testing process and how they will be dealt with.
  8. Approval: The test plan needs to have a clear approval process where all stakeholders and project team members agree on the goals of the testing effort and sign off on it.

Types of Test Plan

There are three types of test plans,

  • Master Test Plan
  • Phase Test Plan
  • Specific Test Plan

Master Test Plan: Contains multiple testing levels and has a comprehensive test strategy.

Phase Test Plan: Tailored to address a specific phase within the overall testing strategy. 

Specific Test Plan: Explicitly designed for other testing types like performance, security, and load testing. Simply put, it is a test plan focusing only on the non-functional aspects.

Sizing The Test Plan

How long should the test plan be?” is a common question that pops up when you’re planning to create a software test plan. But, there is no conclusive answer to this question.

Yet, it is apparent that large and complex applications would require a lot of context on the testing, and therefore, the document would be quite big. But no one wants to read a prolonged document, right? People will just run through the lines and might skip reading most parts. So, I would advise keeping the test plan within fifteen to twenty pages. The shorter the length, the more chances there are to read.

Writing the Test Plan With The Audience in Mind

When writing anything, a best practice will be to keep the audience in mind. If you fail to do that, you will not be able to deliver what’s required for your audience and can not grab their attention. So, tailoring your writing to your audience is crucial. 

For example, a business-focused audience may struggle with technical jargon, while technical readers may find a plan lacking if it lacks technical details. Striking a balance involves expressing technical information in a way that is understandable to non-technical individuals.

In test planning, only some details will rely heavily on technical aspects. The rest of the plan should be easily readable by all stakeholders, regardless of their role. It highlights the importance of test plan reviews, particularly involving stakeholders.

The following are some of the key attributes of the test plan in software testing,

  • Conciseness: Keep sentences short and use bullet points for easy reading, as modern readers tend to skim through content.
  • Organization: Start with a brief introduction and progressively detail the plan. Use test plan templates, standards, numbered sections, and sub-topics for clarity and easy reference.
  • Readability: Use plain language that is easily readable by people. Avoid using acronyms or complex terms for better readability.
  • Adaptability to Change: Plan for potential changes that may happen when changes to the business requirements are done in the future.
  • Accuracy: Ensure the information in the test plan is reliable. Any identified errors should be promptly reported and corrected.

The main goal of a test plan is to communicate the test details with the audience throughout the company. So, keep it clear and simple so you can engage more of the audience.

How to Create a Test Plan?

To create a thorough and effective test plan, you first need to outline the type of software you intend to test. This includes information such as the purpose of the software and user requirements. Once you have this information, you can then proceed with outlining the strategy and objectives of testing, followed by the test criteria, resources, test environment, and schedule.

Step 1: Analyze the product

Before writing an effective test plan, you first need to analyze the product. This means understanding what the product does, how it works, and what its potential users will want to use it for. This analysis will help you identify the areas that need to be tested and the types of tests that will be most effective. Once you understand the product well, you can start to uncover areas where problems may occur. By identifying potential problem areas, you can develop a plan for testing the product.

Step 2: Develop a Test Strategy

The next step in creating a test plan is to develop a test strategy. A number of different factors need to be considered when developing a test strategy, including the type of testing, resources required, and schedule for testing. This strategy should be tailored to the specific project and consider the overall objectives, scope, and risks.

Read More on Test Strategy vs Test Plan: Key Differences 

Define the Scope of Testing

Firstly, identify the objectives of the testing. What are you trying to achieve with the testing? Secondly, identify the areas of the application that require testing. This includes identifying the functional areas, features, and components to be tested. Thirdly, identify the types of testing to perform. Read here – Test Scope

Identify Testing Type

There are various types of testing that can be performed on software, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. When writing a test plan, it is important to identify the type of testing most appropriate for AUT.

One common type of testing is functional testing, which tests the software for compliance with its specified requirements. This type of testing is performed manually or using automation tools. Another type of testing is performance testing, which assesses the speed and stability of the software. Other types include security testing, compatibility testing, and usability testing.

The type of testing most appropriate for software will depend on its purpose and intended audience. In general, however, all software should undergo at least some basic functional testing and performance testing before being released.

Document Risk & Issues

A test plan is a document that outlines the risks and issues associated with a software project. The plan communicates the risks and issues to the project team and management. These could be technical risks, such as problems with the code or architecture, or non-technical risks, such as changes in the business environment.

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-Incomplete or confusing instructions
-Limited time and resources for testing
-Software or hardware that doesn’t work together
-Unexpected problems or slowdowns during testing
-Check with the project’s people to ensure everyone understands what’s needed.
-Determine what needs to be tested first, and think about using machines or getting help from outside experts.
-Make sure the tech stuff works with the software and hardware that will be used.
-Have a plan ready if something goes wrong, and let everyone know.

Create Test Logistics

Creating test logistics is an important part of writing a test plan. This includes deciding where and when testing will take place, as well as what resources will be needed. Test logistics should be created to ensure that all aspects of the testing process are considered. This includes the timeline for the testing process, the resources needed for the testing, and any other relevant information.

Step 3: Define Test Objective

The next step is to define the test objective. The test objective will depend on the software’s purpose, such as verifying whether the software meets user requirements, identifying software defects, or assessing the software’s completeness. The test objective will determine the type of tests that need to be conducted and how the test results will be analyzed and reported. 

Step 4: Define Test Criteria

The next step in creating a test plan is defining the test criteria. Test criteria assess whether a test has passed or failed and are closely linked with test objectives. The test criteria will depend on the type of test, and they should be clearly defined to avoid confusion.

For example, a test for checking data accuracy may use a certain percentage of accuracy as the test criteria. However, it is important to consider any variations that may occur due to environmental changes. For example, one may not achieve the same accuracy level during testing if the data source differs from development.

Suspension Criteria

Suspension criteria are a set of conditions that, if met, will cause the testing process to be suspended. This could be due to a critical bug being found, a change in scope, or anything else that could significantly impact the testing process.

Suspension criteria should be agreed upon by all parties involved in the testing process and should be clearly defined from the start. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and knows when testing should be suspended. Without clear suspension criteria, it can be difficult to decide when to continue testing and stop.

Exit Criteria

The exit criteria for a test plan are the conditions that must be met before the testing can be considered complete. This includes both functional and non-functional criteria. Functional criteria are those that relate to the functionality of the system under test, while non-functional criteria are those that relate to aspects such as performance, scalability, security, etc.

The exit criteria should be clearly defined at the outset of the testing process so that everyone involved knows what needs to be achieved. They should be achievable, measurable, and relevant to the system under test.

Read More on : Entry and Exit Criteria

Step 5: Resource Planning

The next step when creating a test plan is to outline the resources required for testing. This includes determining whether internal or external resources will be required and what their skill sets and qualifications are. 

For example, if you require specific software programs for testing which are unavailable, this may delay the testing process. A test plan should also outline safety requirements to avoid any last-minute changes that may disrupt the testing process.

Human resource

Human resource planning is a key component of the test plan. The human resources required for testing include testers, developers, and other staff involved in the testing process. The number of resources required and the skills they need will vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. The team members’ skills and experience should be considered when making assignments. The plan should also include tracking the testing progress and identifying areas that may require additional resources.

System Resource

When creating a test plan for a system, it is important to consider the system resources required for testing, such as hardware, software, and so on. It should also identify the risks associated with the testing process and outline the steps that will help mitigate those risks.

Step 6: Plan Test Environment

The next step when creating a test plan is to outline the test environment requirements. This will depend on the type of testing, such as functional, usability, or load testing. Besides, it is important to consider any variations that may occur due to changes in the environment. For example, if you are conducting a functional test, you will need a testing environment that resembles the live environment as closely as possible. This may include real data, network connections, and so on.

What is the Test Environment?

The test environment is where the testing takes place. It includes the hardware, software, and other resources required to support the testing process.

How to set up the Test Environment

There are a few key elements to consider when setting up the test environment, including

  • The hardware and software requirements of AUT
  • The testing tools to use
  • The test data to use
  • Network Configuration

Step 7: Schedule & Estimation

Next, when creating a test plan, you need to outline the schedule and estimate for the testing process. This includes determining whether the testing phase is the same length as the development phase, or if you need to extend the testing phase. It is important to consider factors such as the complexity of the software, the testing environment, and other applicable factors. 

You can use the software project management techniques to create a testing schedule. You also need to outline how testing costs will be estimated and determined.

Step 8: Test Deliverables

Lastly, you must outline the test deliverables when creating a test plan. Test deliverables are the final outputs of the testing process, such as test reports, defects, and enhancements. They may also include a list of unsupported features, an explanation of what is missing, and why they were not tested. It is important to note that test deliverables are not the same as software deliverables, and they should only contain information related to testing.

Software Test Plan Example

Now, we will learn “How to write test plans.” A software test plan outlines the testing approach, resources, schedule, and deliverables for a particular testing effort. Here’s a sample template of test planning in software testing,

Let’s discuss what each point means in the below section,

  • Introduction: An overview of the product under test, outlining all the functions at a high level.
  • Objectives and Tasks
    • Objectives: Define the testing objectives aligned with the master test plan.
    • Tasks: List all the tasks outlined in the test plan, including testing, post-testing, and problem reporting.
  • Scope: Describe the scope of testing
  • Testing Strategy: Describe the overall testing approach. Specify the testing approach, the tools to use, and the major testing activities for testing.
  • Unit Testing
    • Definition: An overview of the unit testing process for your project
    • Participants: Lists the individuals/departments conducting the testing.
    • Methodology: Describes how unit testing will be conducted.
  • Other Testing Types: Follow this above template (same as unit testing) for every other testing type.
  • Hardware Requirements: Lists required hardware like computers and modems.
  • Environment Requirements: List the software and hardware properties required for the testing environment.
  • Test Schedule: Include test milestones estimating time for each task.
  • Control Procedures
  • Problem Reporting: Document the procedures to follow when an issue is encountered during testing.
  • Change Requests: If changes to the software modules have to be made, document it and share the feedback with the concerned team. 
  • Features to Be Tested: Identify the features and functions to test.
  • Features Not to Be Tested: Identify the features and functions that will not be tested and provide reasons.
  • Resources/Roles & Responsibilities: Specify team roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in the testing.
  • Schedules: Lists deliverable documents, including test plan, test cases, test incident reports, and test summary reports.
  • Significantly Impacted Departments (SIDs): Lists departments, testers, business areas, and business managers impacted.
  • Dependencies: Identify significant constraints on testing, such as item and resource availability and deadline.
  • Risks/Assumptions: Identify high-risk assumptions and specify contingency plans.
  • Tools: List the test automation tools and bug tracking tools.
  • Approvals: Specify the name and title of the individuals required to approve the plan. Get signatures from every individual responsible for approving the test plan.
    • Name (In Capital Letters) Signature Date:

How Do You Run a Test Plan?

The test plan document also consists of the steps that testers need to follow to run the test plan. You start with the process after all the roles are assigned to the concerned individuals. Typically, the steps are:

  • Setting up the test environment, including hardware, software, and network configurations.
  • Execute the test cases and procedures as outlined in the test plan.
  • Record and document the test results, including any defects or issues encountered.
  • Analyze the test results to identify major and minor issues and if the product is working properly per the user requirements.
  • Communicate and report the test status, including any deviations from the plan to stakeholders.
  • Lastly, review the test plan per the feedback and results you received in the previous steps.

Please remember that the specific steps may vary depending on the project’s context, organizational processes, and the details outlined in the test plan document. But by following this general guideline, you can ensure to build and deploy a high-quality system for your customers.

Different Documents Needed to Write Test Plan

While a test plan is a fundamental document that establishes a basis for the testing process, there are some records that you require to create a test plan. They may include:

Requirements Specification: This document outlines the functional and non-functional requirements of the software or system under test. It serves as a basis for deriving test objectives and designing test cases.

Design Documents: These documents include system architecture, software design specifications, and interface specifications. They provide insights into the software’s internal structure and help identify testing areas.

Use Cases or User Stories: Use cases or user stories describe typical user interactions and scenarios. They help in understanding the system’s expected behavior and defining test scenarios.

Test Strategy: The test strategy document outlines the overall testing approach, including the test levels, test techniques, and test environment setup.

Test Estimation Document: This document provides an estimate of the effort, resources, and schedule required for testing activities. It helps in planning and allocating resources effectively.

Test Case Specifications: Test case specifications document the individual test cases, including input values, expected results, and preconditions. They serve as a detailed guide for test execution.

Defect Management Process: The defect management process document outlines the procedures for reporting, tracking, and resolving defects encountered during testing.

Read More on Test Plan Vs Test Case

How to Deal With Changes to The Test Plan?

If you are in charge of a project, it is important to be able to deal with changes to the test plan. There are a few steps you can take to make this process easier.

First, you need to be able to identify the source of the change. This will help you determine whether the change is something that needs to be addressed immediately or if it can wait.

Next, you need to assess the impact of the change. This will help you determine how much work will be required to implement the change.

Finally, you need to decide how to implement the change. This will involve deciding who will be responsible for implementing the change and how it will be done.

By following these steps, you can ensure that changes to the test plan are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner.

Which Phase in Automation Testing Helps Create the Test Plan?

When automating your tests, you must create a test plan containing the objective, approach, data, and environment setup information.

During the planning phase, the testing team outlines the objectives, approach, and features that need to be tested. In this phase, they also focus on the test environment setup and document all the information.

Thereafter, the time comes to create a test plan that summarizes the test strategy, test data, scope of testing, necessary resources, and project timelines. It will also include the details about tests that need to be conducted and the tools that will be in use to perform different tests.

Clearly, the test planning phase is important as it contains all the data about the testing process, including test data, automation tools, and more, in one place.


Creating a test plan is a crucial step in software testing. It outlines the scope, objectives, resources, and timeline of the testing process. A test plan also details the criteria to evaluate test results. It is important to create a well-structured test plan to ensure the success of the software testing process. 

Many resources are available online to help with this process, including templates and tutorials. Furthermore, it is important to document any changes made to the test plan and update it accordingly.

Get here – Software Test Plan Template (Sample) with Detail.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the test plan in Scrum?

A test plan is a key component of a Scrum project. It defines how testing will be conducted and provides a roadmap for teams working towards the same goal. The test plan should be created at the beginning of project, along with other Scrum artifacts. And it should be revisited and updated as needed throughout the project.

What is the basic format of a test plan?

The basic format of a test plan is a document that outlines the testing approach for a software project. It includes test objectives, testing tools, test scenarios, test schedules, etc. The document also includes information on who will execute the tests, when the tests will be executed, and what tools and resources will be used for testing.

What is the purpose of a test plan?

A test plan is a document that describes the scope, approach, resources, and schedule of a software testing effort. It is the basis for formally testing any software product. The test plan is an integral part of the software development process and ensures that quality assurance activities are properly planned and conducted.

Who prepares a test plan?

A test plan is typically prepared by a lead test engineer or a senior test engineer and is approved by the project manager or the head of the development team.

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