Test plan overview

The test plan describes the scope of the overall test effort and provides a record of the test planning process. The test plan can be configured to meet the needs of your team. Typically, a test plan identifies requirements, risks, test cases, the test environments to be tested, business and quality objectives, test schedules, and other items. Related test plans can be grouped together in a nested master-child relationship.

Test plan sections

Watch a video that explores the sections of a test plan. The video is hosted on YouTube.

A test plan includes several predefined sections. Each section includes its own editor. Some sections, such as the Business Objectives and Test Objections sections, consist of a rich-text editor for text input. These editors provide common formatting features such as table support, font support, bullets, and numbered lists.

Other test plan sections, such as the Requirements and Tests Cases sections, provide links to these additional test artifacts. Still other sections include tables that establish and measure against criteria such as Exit Criteria, Entry Criteria, Quality Objectives, and Test Schedules.

You can add your own sections and remove sections that you do not need using the Manage Sections feature.

Test plan templates

A test plan is based on a test plan template. When you create a new test plan, you choose a template to base it on. You can create a new test plan from one of the predefined templates, or from a test plan template that you create. You can also designate which test plan templates should appear by default within a new test plan.

A test plan template is a collection of test plan sections. You create a template by adding and removing existing sections or creating new sections. If the section names do not match what you are accustomed to, create new sections and add them to a template.

Each test organization can design their own test templates. This flexibility makes the test plan suitable for both agile and formal test teams and for teams that perform different kinds of testing, such as functional regression testing, performance testing, system verification testing, globalization testing, and so on.

Test plan categories

Test plan categories are used in the Summary section of a test plan.

You can use test plan categories to help organize your test plans into logical groups. Later, when you view a list all of your test plans, you can sort, filter, and group the test plans in the list by using the categories.

By default, three test plan categories are provided: Product, Release, and Iteration. You can add more choices for products, releases, and iterations. You can also create your own categories, such as Test Type, Component, or Division.

Test plan custom attributes

If an administrator defined custom attributes for test plans, they display in the Summary section of a test plan under Attributes.

Like categories, custom attributes can be used to help organize your test artifacts. With categories, the field values are restricted to text format; however, with custom attributes you can also use integer and date formats. Custom attribute values are free-form and not restricted to a predefined set, allowing any data to be entered and used when working with test artifacts. When you view a list all of your test plans, you can filter the list by using the custom attributes.

Test plan work items

A work item is a way of keeping track of the tasks and issues that your team needs to address. The status and number of work items are indicators of the health of your project. If you have configured an integration with a defect provider (such as the Change and Configuration Management application or IBM® Rational® ClearQuest®), you can create work items for team members directly from sections of the test plan.

For example, to assign a section of a test plan to another team member, click Work Item: Create in the test plan section and specify a summary description, owner, and due date for the work item. This results in the creation of a new work item.

For more information about work items, see Managing the team with work items.

Test plans and their relationship with other test artifacts

From a test plan you can manage other test artifacts, such as test cases and requirements. However, it is also possible to use the product without a test plan. The topic on test artifact relationships describes the relationships between tests plans and other test artifacts, such as test cases, requirements, test scripts, keywords, test data, and so on.

Test execution status (new in version 4.0)

From the test plan overview you can track the test execution status of test cases and test suites. You can view the relationship between test estimates and actual time spent, test execution progress in relation to the assigned weight (or point) values, and test execution status in relation to the number of tests attempted.

Test plan tasks

Here are some of the many tasks that you can perform with test plans:

  • Set up a formal review process that is visible at all times to all members of the larger project team
  • View and work with sets of requirements that are linked from a requirements management application to test plans
  • Create a test plan snapshot and use it as the basis for a new test plan
  • Create test cases and associate them with the test plan
  • List platform coverage and the various test environments supported and tested by the test plan
  • Estimate the overall test planning and test execution effort
  • Define schedules for each test iteration.
  • Define business objectives, test objectives, quality goals, and entrance and exit criteria

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