Test Scope for Software Testing What it is & How to Create

Test Scope for Software Testing | What it is & How to Create

Test scope is a documented description of the boundaries, objectives, deliverables, and criteria that guide the testing process. In essence, it defines the “what,” “why,” and “how” of your software testing endeavors.

In the ever-evolving world of software development, ensuring that your product functions flawlessly is paramount. This is where software testing comes into play, serving as the gatekeeper to quality and reliability. To effectively manage the testing process, it’s crucial to define the parameters and boundaries of your testing efforts. This is where the concept of “test scope” becomes indispensable.

In this article, we will delve into what test scope is, why it’s essential, and how to create a comprehensive test scope that will be your guiding beacon through the intricate landscape of software testing.

What is Test Scope?

Test scope is a clear and detailed description of what, why, and how you’re going to test a software application. To better understand this concept, let’s dive into what test scope is, using a real-life example.

Imagine you’re building a brand-new smartphone, packed with exciting features and cutting-edge technology. You want to make sure it works flawlessly before releasing it to the market. This is where the test scope comes into play.

Test scope is like creating a precise roadmap for testing your smartphone. It outlines the key areas to focus on, the goals you want to achieve, and the tools you’ll use. It’s all about defining the scope of your testing effort.

Let’s break down the components of a test scope using our smartphone example:

  • Objectives: Your objective is to ensure that the smartphone functions smoothly and meets the expectations of its users. You want it to be bug-free, user-friendly, and perform well.
  • Features and Functionality: In your test scope, you list all the features and functionalities of the smartphone that need testing. This includes the touch screen, camera, calling capabilities, internet connectivity, and all the apps pre-installed on the device.
  • Inclusions and Exclusions: You specify that your testing will include functional testing (checking if all features work as intended), usability testing (evaluating how user-friendly the interface is), and performance testing (ensuring the phone runs smoothly under various conditions). You also exclude hardware testing, as your focus is on the software aspects.
  • Entry and Exit Criteria: You establish that testing will begin once the software is fully developed, and the smartphone prototype is ready for testing. The exit criteria might be met when the device achieves a certain level of stability, with all critical bugs fixed.
  • Deliverables: Your test scope mentions the deliverables you’ll provide, such as a test plan detailing the testing process, test cases for each feature, and bug reports with detailed information about any issues discovered during testing.

In our smartphone testing scenario, creating a test scope matters because of it:

  • Ensures a systematic approach to testing.
  • Helps testers focus on critical areas.
  • Sets clear objectives for testing.
  • Defines what’s in and out of scope.
  • Provides measurable criteria for success.

How to Define Test Scope for Software Testing?

Defining the test scope for software testing is akin to outlining the boundaries of a complex puzzle; it sets the stage for an organized, efficient, and effective testing process. Let’s explore the steps to define a comprehensive test scope:

Step 1. Understand Project Objectives:

Begin by gaining a deep understanding of the project’s objectives and goals. Engage with project stakeholders, such as developers, product managers, and business analysts, to grasp the bigger picture. Knowing what the software aims to achieve is crucial for defining your test scope.

Step 2. Identify Critical Features and Functionality:

Identify the critical features, modules, or functionality within the software that require testing. Prioritize them based on their importance to the project and user needs. This step helps ensure that the most crucial aspects receive adequate attention.

Step 3. Determine Test Types:

Select the appropriate types of testing based on your project’s nature and requirements. Common types of testing include:

  • Functional Testing: Verifying that individual functions or features work correctly.
  • Regression Testing: Ensuring that changes or updates do not break existing functionality.
  • Performance Testing: Evaluating how the software performs under different conditions.
  • Security Testing: Identifying vulnerabilities and ensuring data protection.
  • Usability Testing: Assessing the user-friendliness of the interface.

Choose the test types that align with your project’s goals and risks.

Step 4. Establish Clear Objectives:

Define clear and measurable objectives for your testing efforts. For example, your objectives could include achieving a specific level of code coverage, uncovering a particular number of defects, or ensuring that the software meets certain performance benchmarks. Objectives provide a target for your testing efforts.

Step 5. Specify Inclusions and Exclusions:

Clearly outline what is within the scope of your testing efforts and what is not. This step helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is on the same page. For example, you might specify that user interface (UI) testing is within scope, while hardware testing is not.

Step 6. Define Entry and Exit Criteria:

Establish entry criteria, which are the conditions that must be met before testing can commence. This could include having a stable version of the software ready for testing. Additionally, define exit criteria, which signify when testing can conclude. Exit criteria could involve achieving a certain level of test coverage or resolving all critical defects.

Step 7. Document Deliverables:

List the tangible deliverables that will result from your testing efforts. Common deliverables include:

  • Test Plans: Describing the overall testing approach and strategy.
  • Test Cases: Detailed instructions for executing specific tests.
  • Test Data: Data sets required for testing different scenarios.
  • Defect Reports: Documentation of identified issues with relevant details.
  • Test Summary Reports: Summaries of testing activities and outcomes.

Creating and documenting these deliverables ensures that your testing process is well-documented and transparent.

Step 8. Review and Validate:

Share the draft test scope document with relevant stakeholders, including the development team, project managers, and quality assurance team. Encourage feedback and validation to ensure that the test scope accurately reflects the project’s requirements and goals.

Step 9. Keep it Updated:

Remember that the test scope is not a static document. As the project progresses and evolves, your test scope may need adjustments. Regularly update and communicate any changes to ensure that your testing efforts remain aligned with the project’s objectives.

By following these steps to define your test scope, you’ll create a robust foundation for your software testing efforts. It ensures that your testing is focused, purposeful, and aligned with the project’s goals, ultimately leading to a higher-quality software product.

What Should be Included in the Test Scope?

The test scope serves as the roadmap for your software testing journey, guiding your efforts and ensuring a systematic and comprehensive approach. To create an effective test scope, it’s important to include specific elements that provide clarity and direction to your testing efforts. Here’s a breakdown of what should be included in a test scope:

Terms of the Test

The “terms of the test” section sets the stage for your testing activities. It defines the overarching rules and conditions that govern the testing process. For instance, if you’re testing a mobile banking app, you might specify that testing will be conducted in a sandbox environment to protect real customer data.

Example: “Testing will be conducted in a sandbox environment to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer data.”

Test Environment

This section details the technical setup required for testing. If you’re testing a web application, it should specify the browsers, operating systems, and network configurations to be used. Consider it as defining the playing field for your testing.

Example: “Test environment includes Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers on Windows 10, macOS, and Linux operating systems.”

Features to Be Tested

List the specific features, modules, or functionalities of the software under examination. If you’re testing a video streaming platform, this could encompass user registration, content playback, and subscription management.

Example: “Features to be tested include user registration, content playback, and subscription management.”

Acceptance Criteria

Acceptance criteria lay out the conditions that the software must meet to be deemed acceptable. For instance, if you’re testing a document management system, the acceptance criteria may specify that it should handle files of up to 100MB without performance degradation.

Example: “Acceptance criteria: The document management system should handle files up to 100MB without a decrease in performance.”

Bug Types

Define the types of defects you’ll be looking for during testing. For a mobile gaming app, bug types could include functionality issues (game crashes), usability problems (difficulties navigating menus), and performance bottlenecks (slow loading times).

Example: “Bug types include functionality issues (crashes), usability problems (navigation glitches), and performance bottlenecks (slow loading).”

Test Instructions

Provide detailed instructions on how to perform each test case. Imagine you’re testing an e-commerce website; your test instructions could specify the steps for adding a product to the cart, proceeding to checkout, and making a payment.

Example: “Test instructions for adding a product to the cart:

Step 1 – Navigate to the product page.

Step 2 – Click the ‘Add to Cart’ button.

Step 3 – Verify the item is added to the cart.”


Include any relevant attachments, such as test data files or screenshots of expected outcomes. For instance, when testing a photo editing app, you might attach image files to be used in test cases.

Example: “Attachments: Sample image files for use in image editing test cases.”

Schedule and Timeline

Specify the timeframe for testing activities. If you’re testing a project management software, you might set a timeline that allocates two weeks for user acceptance testing (UAT) before the final release.

Example: “Schedule: User acceptance testing (UAT) phase to commence on August 15th, with a planned duration of two weeks.”

Resources Required

List the resources necessary for testing. In the case of testing a GPS navigation app, resources could include physical smartphones with various GPS capabilities for location testing or device farms hosted on the cloud that provides these functionalities.

Example: “Resources required: Android and iOS smartphones with GPS functionality for location testing.”


Describe the tangible outputs of the testing process. For a financial software system, deliverables could encompass a comprehensive test report, including test cases, defect logs, and performance metrics.

Example: “Deliverables: Test report with detailed test cases, defect logs, and performance metrics.”

Review and Approval Process

Outline the steps for reviewing and approving the test scope. In a healthcare application project, this might involve the QA team reviewing the document and the project manager giving final approval before testing starts.

Example: “Review and approval process: QA team to review the test scope, followed by approval from the project manager.”

By incorporating these diverse elements into your test scope, you’ll ensure that it’s thorough and tailored to your specific testing needs. Like a well-prepared toolkit, your test scope will guide you through the testing process, leaving no stone unturned in your quest for software quality.

How does the Business Influence the Testing Scope?

The business plays a pivotal role in shaping the testing scope. It’s not just a technical endeavor; it’s a strategic one that must align with the business’s objectives and goals. 

The starting point of any testing scope is a clear understanding of the business’s objectives. What does the software aim to achieve for the business? Is it about increasing sales, improving customer satisfaction, or complying with industry regulations? The business sets the overarching goals, and the testing scope should reflect these objectives. For example, if the business objective is to boost user engagement in a social media app, the testing scope should prioritize features related to user interactions and content sharing.

Not all features of a software application are equally critical to the business’s success. The business identifies which features are mission-critical and which are less important. This prioritization influences the testing scope, ensuring that essential functionalities receive more extensive testing. For example, in an e-commerce platform, features related to the checkout process and payment gateways are typically considered top priorities for testing due to their direct impact on revenue.

Many businesses operate in regulated industries, such as healthcare, finance, or data privacy. Compliance with industry regulations is non-negotiable, and the testing scope must align with these requirements. This often involves specific types of testing and stringent criteria. For instance, a financial software application must adhere to strict security standards, necessitating extensive security testing and documentation in the testing scope.

Moreover, businesses are acutely aware that software success hinges on user satisfaction. User experience (UX) is a critical aspect influenced by the business. The testing scope should encompass usability testing and ensure that the software meets user expectations. The business often defines the budget and resource allocation for software development and testing. 

These constraints play a role in determining the depth and breadth of testing efforts. The testing scope should also be realistic and consider the available resources. A startup with limited funds may focus on essential functionality testing initially and plan for more comprehensive testing as the business grows.

In essence, the business wields significant influence over the testing scope by setting the strategic direction, prioritizing goals, and determining the balance between risk and reward. The testing scope is not a static document but a dynamic one that evolves alongside the business’s objectives and the ever-changing landscape of software development. It’s a collaborative effort that ensures the software aligns with the business’s vision and ultimately delivers value to its users and stakeholders.

Tips To Effectively Define the Test Scope

Defining a comprehensive test scope is a critical step in ensuring successful software testing. Here are some valuable tips to help you effectively define the test scope for your projects:

  • Engage with stakeholders early to gather insights.
  • Understand and align with business goals.
  • Prioritize critical features for testing.
  • Include compliance requirements if applicable.
  • Incorporate user experience (UX) testing.
  • Clearly define entry and exit criteria.
  • Balance testing efforts with available time and resources.
  • Thoroughly document the test scope for clarity.
  • Embrace agility and adaptability in scope definition.
  • Involve stakeholder review and approval.
  • Keep the scope relevant and up-to-date.
  • Maintain open and clear communication with stakeholders.
  • Explore test automation opportunities if suitable.
  • Learn from past projects and apply lessons learned.

The testing process should rely on user feedback and market response to refine and improve the software continuously. This iterative approach influences the testing scope by emphasizing ongoing testing cycles and the ability to adapt to changing business needs.

Test Scope and Test Automation

Test scope and test automation are intrinsically linked, with test scope defining the boundaries of testing and test automation providing the means to efficiently carry out those testing efforts.

Within the context of test scope, it’s crucial to identify where test automation can bring the most value. This involves recognizing areas where automation can significantly reduce manual effort, improve testing efficiency, and enhance test coverage. These areas might include repetitive test cases, regression testing, or scenarios that require a wide range of data inputs.

As part of the test scope definition, it’s essential to specify which test cases will be automated and which will be manually tested. This distinction ensures that automation efforts are targeted appropriately and align with project objectives. Not all test cases may be suitable for automation, so clarity in this regard is essential.

Setting automation criteria is another vital aspect of integrating test scope and test automation. These criteria help you determine which test cases are suitable candidates for automation. Factors like test case stability, repeatability, and the frequency of execution play a significant role in guiding this decision-making process.

Moreover, the choice of an automation framework is influenced by the test scope. The framework selected should align with the testing goals and the technical landscape of the software being tested. It should be capable of effectively addressing the scope’s objectives, whether they involve functional, performance, security, or other forms of testing.

Lastly, resource and skill requirements for test automation should be considered within the test scope. Clearly articulating the resources needed and the expertise required to implement and maintain automation ensures that the automation effort is well-planned and adequately supported.

In summary, test scope and test automation are intertwined elements of the testing process. While the test scope defines the boundaries and objectives of testing, test automation provides the tools and techniques to efficiently carry out those testing efforts. By effectively integrating these two aspects, testing teams can optimize their testing efforts and deliver higher-quality software products.

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Test Scope to Test Automation

Transitioning from a meticulously defined test scope to effective test automation involves a structured process. We need to identify the test cases within the scope that are prime candidates for automation, focusing on repetitive, critical, and regression-prone scenarios. Then, assess the suitability of your chosen automation tool, ensuring it aligns with project requirements and supports the desired testing types. 

Once your tool is in place, translate your manual test cases into automated scripts, configure test data, and leverage the tool’s features for script creation and parameterization. Execute your automated tests, monitoring for failures and collecting actionable data. Finally, analyze results, report defects, and iteratively refine your automation efforts based on insights gained. This transition not only streamlines testing but also enhances test coverage and accelerates the software testing life cycle.

Let’s walk through an example scenario to illustrate this process:

Scenario: You’re part of a quality assurance team testing a travel website, and your test scope focuses on validating critical user flows like user log-in, searching for viable transports, etc. Let’s take an example where you need to automate the testing for the login scenario for the Travel Web Application. Here’s the login page that we will be testing – https://travel.testsigma.com/login.

Step 1: Define the Test Scope

  1. Identify Objectives: Start by understanding the business objectives. In this case, it’s to ensure a seamless login experience for users.
  1. List Critical Features: Identify the critical features within your test scope, such as user registration and login, fetching schedules, location, and checkout functionality.
  1. Set Entry and Exit Criteria: Define when testing can begin (e.g., a stable development build) and when it will conclude (e.g., achieving a certain defect resolution rate).
  1. Document Deliverables: Specify the deliverables, including test plans, test cases, and bug reports.

Step 2: Assess Automation Potential

  1. Select Test Cases for Automation: Within your test scope, choose test cases that are repetitive, time-consuming, or critical for regression testing. For example, automating the flight search process can save time and ensure consistency.
  1. Evaluate Tool Suitability: Determine if the testing tool you have is a suitable automation tool for your project. Assess factors like ease of use, compatibility with web applications, and the availability of necessary integrations.

Testsigma is an AI-driven test automation tool, that can significantly enhance software testing practices, particularly in achieving the goals of test automation. With Testsigma’s automated testing capabilities, testers can get the following features:


  • Easy Test Automation: Testsigma simplifies test automation with a code-free, plain English approach.
  • Multi-Platform Support: Automate tests for web, mobile, API, and desktop apps all in one platform.
  • AI-Supported Features: Benefit from AI-powered features like automatic script maintenance and bug reporting.
  • Cloud Execution: Run tests efficiently on the cloud, enabling remote testing anytime, anywhere.
  • Easy Debugging: Capture screenshots, videos, and logs during test runs for effective debugging.
  • Customizable Reports: Create tailored reports and access real-time test insights.
  • Collaborative Setup: Facilitate team collaboration and integrate with CI/CD tools.
  • Parallel Testing: Save time with support for parallel testing.
  • Local Device Testing: Identify issues unique to local devices during testing.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Perform data-driven testing for comprehensive test coverage.

In the next few steps, let’s see how to create test cases using simple English in Testsigma.

Step 3: Implement Test Automation with Testsigma

  1. Set Up Testsigma: Create an account on the Testsigma platform and configure your testing environment. Define the browsers, devices, and operating systems you want to test on.

Create project

  • Click on create a new project and fill in the name and description
  • Select the number of applications to be included. You can turn on versioning if you need it
  • Select the type of application you’d like to test from – Web, Mobile-Web, Android, iOS, or API
  • And that’s it! You’re ready to start testing
  1. Create Test Cases: Using Testsigma’s intuitive interface, start building test cases that replicate the user flows outlined in your test scope.

Test cases

  • Click on the “Test Cases” tab and then click the “Create New Test Case” button.
  • In the test case creation screen, give a name and description of the test case.
  • Click on the “Step Editor” tab to start adding steps to your test case.
  • To add a step, simply type the action you want to perform in plain English language.
  1. Test Data Preparation: Prepare test data, such as username and password, as needed for your test cases.
  1. Automation Scripting: With Testsigma’s scriptless automation, you can create test steps for actions like entering search queries, clicking buttons, and verifying results without writing code.
  1. Parameterization: Leverage Testsigma’s capabilities for parameterization to test various scenarios within your test scope, such as searching for different products.

Here’s how you can write the test steps.

  • Navigate to Simply Travel login page(https://travel.testsigma.com/login)
  • Enter username as ‘admin’ in the User Name field
  • Enter the password as ‘12345’ in the Password field
  • Click on the login button

test steps

  1. Execute Automated Tests: Run your automated test cases on different browsers and platforms simultaneously to ensure comprehensive coverage.
Test plan

Step 4: Analyze Results and Reporting

  1. Defect Detection: Monitor automated test execution for any failures or issues, such as broken links or incorrect search results.
  1. Bug Reporting: If a test case fails, Testsigma can automatically generate detailed bug reports, including screenshots and logs, facilitating efficient issue tracking and resolution.

Test case results

Step 5: Iterate and Update

  1. Iterate and Enhance: Use the insights gained from automated testing to improve your test scope. Identify additional test scenarios or refine existing ones based on real-world results.
  1. Update the Test Scope: Ensure that your test scope document reflects any changes or additions resulting from automated testing, maintaining alignment between the scope and automation efforts.

By following this workflow, you can effectively transition from a well-defined test scope to automated testing using Testsigma. This approach not only optimizes testing efforts but also enhances the quality and reliability of your applications, aligning them with business objectives.

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In conclusion, a well-defined test scope serves as the compass, guiding testing endeavors by outlining objectives, critical features, compliance requirements, and more. It lays the foundation for a structured and purpose-driven testing strategy.

On the other hand, test automation, exemplified by tools like Testsigma, empowers teams to execute tests with precision and efficiency. It streamlines repetitive tasks, supports multiple platforms, harnesses the power of AI for maintenance, and provides collaborative, cloud-based execution. When harmoniously integrated with a comprehensive test scope, test automation ensures that testing aligns with business goals, optimizes resource utilization, and accelerates the software testing lifecycle.

The process of moving from a meticulously defined test scope to efficient test automation is a crucial journey in modern software development. It bridges the gap between strategic objectives and practical testing efforts, and the right approach can significantly enhance the quality and reliability of software products.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Scope and Out of Scope in Test Strategy?

In the context of a test strategy, “scope” refers to the defined boundaries and objectives of the testing effort. It outlines what aspects of the software will be tested, the goals of testing, and the criteria for success. The scope ensures that testing is purposeful, comprehensive, and aligned with the project’s objectives.
Conversely, “out of scope” refers to what will not be tested or the areas and activities explicitly excluded from the testing effort. Out-of-scope items may include features or functionalities that are not deemed critical for testing, third-party integrations that are not part of the project, or certain types of testing that are deferred to a later phase.

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