Artifact: Test Plan
This artifact defines the goals and objectives of testing within the scope of the iteration (or project), the items being targeted, the approach to be taken, the resources required and the deliverables to be produced.
Domains: Test
Work Product Kinds: Plan
  • To outline and communicate the intent of the testing effort for a given schedule.
  • To gain the acceptance and approval of the stakeholders in the test effort.
Main Description

The Test Plan forms the framework within which the team performing the testing will work for the given schedule. It directs, guides and constrains the test effort, focusing the work on the useful and necessary deliverables. It also communicates the intent of the effort to stakeholders. As such, the Test Plan should avoid detail that would not be understood, or would be considered irrelevant by the stakeholders in the test effort.

In cultures or domains in which this work product is not recognized as a formal work product, it is still important to address the different aspects represented by the Test Plan as part of the planning effort, and make appropriate decisions about what testing will be undertaken and how the test effort will be conducted.

Brief Outline

The Test Plan captures the following informational elements:

  • The definition of the goals and objectives of the test effort within the scope of the iteration (or project).
  • The definition of the the targeted test items.
  • An explanation of the approach or strategy that will be used.
  • The resources and schedule required.
  • The deliverables to be produced.
Representation Options

In certain testing cultures, Test Plan are considered informal, casual work products, whereas in others they are highly formal and often require external signoff. As such, the format and content of the work product should be varied to meet the specific needs of an organization or project. Start by considering the templates included with the RUP and remove, add, or modify elements from the template as needed.

As an alternative to formal documentation, you might choose to record the elements of the iteration Test Plan as a set of informal planning notes, possibly maintained on an Intranet Web site or whiteboard readily visible to, and accessible by, the test team. You could do the same with the Master Test Plan.

Optionally, some aspects of this work product can be presented appropriately as enclosures within the Software Development Plan and the Iteration Plan, rather than as a separate work products. 

We recommend that you create smaller Test Plan focused on the scope of a single iteration. These work products should contain the information related to the specific Test Motivators (for example, a subset of requirements, risks), the specific test ideas you will investigate, strategies you will use, resources available and so forth, relevant to the specific Iteration.

Optionally, a "Master" Test Plan, may be created at the outset of the project to provide an outline of the planned test effort over the life of the project, and provide some forethought into resource requirements and other long-term logistics concerns. This master work product also provides a way to limit the repetition of elements common to all Test Plan such as human, hardware and software resources, management procedures, and so forth. We recommend you avoid documenting specific detailed test information in the Test Plan, documenting that as necessary and appropriate in other more appropriate test work products.

More Information