2.9. Transitions

For each test phase, the system under test must satisfy a minimal set of qualifications before the test organization can effectively and efficiently run tests. For example, it makes little sense to star t extensive user-scenario testing of SpeedyWriter if the application cannot open or save a file or display text on the screen. Likewise, the DataRocket server can't undergo environmental testing—especially thermal testing—if you don't have even a prototype case. This section of the test plan should specify the criteria essential for beginning and completing various test phases (and for continuing an effective and efficient test process). I usually refer to these as entry, exit, and continuation criteria, respectively, but some test professionals use the terms entry, stopping, and suspension/resumption criteria.

As you write criteria for test phases and transitions, be aware of what you' re actually saying: "If someone outside the test group fails to comply with these rules, I'm going to object to starting this phase of testing, ask to stop this phase of testing, or suggest that we not move this project forward." While these are technical criteria, invoking them can create a political firestorm. I only include criteria that I seriously believe will affect the test team's ability to provide useful services to the project. While test team efficiency is important to the project, making life convenient for the test team is not, so I'm careful to avoid criteria that ...

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