Nowadays, the popularity and profitability of a software application depends on its quality. So it becomes essential for businesses to get all aspects of the software tested throughout the production process. Many enterprises even adopt agile software testing, and make both developers and testers to execute test cases. But the testing professionals need to perform a variety of tests to assess all aspects of the software. They often find it difficult to test a software application thoroughly within a shorter amount of time and without affecting its time to market.
That is why; test managers prepare elaborate test plans to make the test management process efficient and streamlined. In addition to determining the tests to be performed and estimating the testing efforts, test planning further helps managers to monitor the progress of the testing project. At the same time, the test plan makes it easier for the test manager to convey details of the software testing to developers, testers, business managers, customers and other stakeholders. There are also a number of reasons why test planning has become an integral part of modern test management process.
Role of Test Planning in Software Testing
1) Identify the Key Challenges
While testing a software application, testing professionals has to address a variety of challenges. Likewise, they have to overcome various constraints related to time and resources. The test plan helps the manager to identify these challenges and constraints in advance. Hence, the manager can easily estimate and plan testing based on these constraints. He can further include the challenges in the test plan template to remember them throughout the project.
2) Ensure Test Coverage
An elaborate test plan helps manager to keep the testing project organized and streamlined. While making the test plan, the test manager can easily decide the scope and risks that need to be tested or skipped. Thus, he can ensure that all important aspects of the software are tested and covered. The testing professionals can further refer to the written test plan regularly to identify the bugs or flaws in the application in a more structured way.
3) Manage Changes
The test manager can further use the test plan as an efficient tool to manage changes throughout the process. The test plan clearly defines the objectives and scope of the testing project. So the manager can easily update the master test plan according to the additional information gathered during different phases of the project. He can also make changes to the initial plan based on the test results. The changes made to the test plan will make the software QA testing process dynamic and flexible.
4) Facilitate Communication
In an agile environment, developers, testers, business managers, customers and other stakeholders need to work together and coordinate with each other continuously. So the test manager needs to convey all aspects of the testing project clearly to individual stakeholders in the project. The manager can use test plan as a tool to communicate with others efficiently. Each stakeholder can refer to the test plan to gather important information about the project like objectives, critical areas to be tested, major product risks, and resource constraints.
5) Identify More Flaws or Bugs in the Software
A number of studies have highlighted that exploratory testing enables testers to identify more defects in an application. But exploratory testing requires testers to think out of box, and find bugs based on their imagination. As each individual’s imagination has limits, often exploratory testing does not deliver reliable test results. The test plan clearly defines the aspects of the software to be tested along with the relevant use cases. Hence, it requires testers to perform all required tests and assess all aspects of the software without relying on their imagination.
6) Organize Test Results
The testing professionals must convey the test results in an organized and structured ways to facilitate decision making. A good test plan emphasizes on organizing test results based on individual sections or builds. Further, it requires testers to convey the status of individual tests using colours. Hence, the project manager can easily identify the failed or broken tests based on the plan. At the same time, test plan further make it easier for him to identify the problematic areas.
7) Document the Test Strategy
The manager can write the test plan elaborately to document the entire test strategy. The test plan includes risks, constraints, scope of testing, test schedules, test deliverables, and release cycles. The testing professionals also have option to include test points in the plan during the testing process. Hence, the test plan helps managers to monitor the progress of the project, and know the completed tests. Also, the test plan can be reused in future for performing regression testing.
On the whole, test planning makes it easier for testing professionals to address a number of challenges efficiently. Also, the test manager can prepare multiple test plans during various phases of testing. He can prepare the master test plan during initial phases to clearly outline the testing strategy. Likewise, he also needs to supplement the master test plan by creating additional test plans for individual testing phases and processes.
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