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Managing the Testing Process: Practical Tools and Techniques for Managing Hardware and Software Testing by Rex Black

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Chapter 2

Plotting and Presenting Your Course: The Test Plan

This chapter offers a practical approach to writing one or more test plans for your project. I'll walk through a sample template that I use to develop a solid test plan—and I'll look at the issue of getting the plan approved once I've drawn it up.

Why I Write Test Plans

In Chapter 1 I discussed how I set the scope, schedule, and budget parameters for my test projects. Given a budget, resource commitments, and a schedule, can you claim that you have a test plan? Some people do. In my experience, however, you need more detail to successfully manage a test project. Below the objectives and estimates featured in Chapter 1 lurks another layer of complexity, right above the specific details of test suites—and it pays to consider this complexity in advance.

Writing a test plan gives you a chance to collect your thoughts, your ideas, and your memories. Undoubtedly you've learned a great deal throughout the course of your career. Writing a thorough test plan gives you a chance to crystallize that knowledge into a concrete way of tackling the tasks ahead.

I see the test plan also as an opportunity to communicate with my test team, my development colleagues, and my managers. The most intense discussion of what testing is all about often occurs when I hold a test plan review. I appreciate the chance to have a forum focused solely on testing before a project enters the often-chaotic test execution periods, in which everyone can become ...

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