Software Test Plan and Design

Test Planning

The test planning stage represents the need to review long-lead-time test planning activities. During this phase, the test team identifies test procedure creation standards and guidelines; hardware, software, and network required to support test environment; test data requirements; a preliminary test schedule; performance measure requirements; a procedure to control test configuration and environment; as well as defect-tracking procedure(s) and associated tracking tool(s).

The test plan contains the results of each preliminary phase of the structured test methodology (ATLM). The test plan will define roles and responsibilities, project test schedule, test planning and design activities, test environment preparation, test risks and contingencies, and acceptable level of thoroughness ( test acceptance criteria). Test plan appendices may include test procedures, naming conventions, test procedure format standards, and a test procedure traceability matrix.

The test environment setup is part of test planning. It represents the need to plan, track, and manage test environment setup activities, where material procurements may have long lead times. The test team needs to schedule and track environment setup activities; install test environment hardware, software, and network resources; integrate and install test environment resources; obtain/refine test databases; and develop environment setup scripts and test bed scripts.

Test Design

The test design component addresses the need to define the number of tests to be performed, the ways that testing will be approached (paths, functions), and the test conditions that need to be exercised. Test design standards need to be defined and followed.

An effective test program, incorporating the automation of software testing, involves a mini-development lifecycle of its own, complete with strategy and goal planning, test requirement definition, analysis, design, and coding. Similar to software application development, test requirements must be specified before test design is constructed. Test requirements need to be clearly defined and documented, so that all project personnel will understand the basis of the test effort. Test requirements are defined within requirement statements as an outcome of test requirement analysis.

After test requirements have been derived using the described techniques, test procedure design can begin. Test procedure design consists of the definition of logical groups of test procedures and a naming convention for the suite of test procedures. With a test procedure definition in place, each test procedure is then identified as either an automated or a manual test. During the test planning phase, the test team gets an understanding of the number of test techniques being employed and an estimate for the number of test procedures that will be required. The test team also will have an estimate of the number of test procedures that will need to be performed manually, as well as with an automated test tool.