Planning the test effort

This topic describes how to plan the test effort and contribute to the overall process of release planning.
graphic shows the steps in planning the test effort. Click this area to get information about planning a release Click this area to get information about developing a vision Click this area to get information about organizing requirements Click this area to get information about planning the project Click this area to get information about creating and integrating test plans Click this area to get information about defining quality objectives Click this area to get information about outlining test cases Click this area to get information about defining test environments Click this area to get information about reviewing test plans

This topic is similar to information that was previously found in Tool Mentors in the IBM Practice Library.

Before you begin

Before you begin planning the test effort, you must have a clear understanding of the project vision, the project requirements, and the development release plan. You must collaborate with other stakeholders to gather this information.

1. Create and integrate test plans

The first step in planning the test effort is to create a test plan. In your test plan, you can link to any requirements that have been defined and also integrate with the development release plan. If multiple iterations are defined for the release, you can create a master test plan for the release and child test plans for each iteration.
  1. Create a master test plan.
  2. Link to a requirements collection.
  3. Link to development release plan.

Supporting tasks:

2. Define quality objectives

In your test plan, you must define your quality objectives. You can use quality objectives to define the overall quality goals for a release, as well as the required entry and exit criteria. Entry criteria define the prerequisites that must be met before testing can begin. Exit criteria define the conditions that must be met before testing can be concluded. You can use these goals to determine the level of quality that must be achieved before your product is considered ready to be released.
  1. Set overall quality objectives.
  2. Define entry criteria.
  3. Define exit criteria.

Supporting tasks:

3. Outline test cases

At this stage, you outline the test cases that are needed to satisfy each requirement, and you associate each test case with a task in the development plan.
  1. Align the test plan with requirements.
    1. Link test plans to a requirement collection.
    2. Create test cases for each requirement or generate a set of test cases from a requirements collection.
  2. Align the test plan with the development release plan.
    1. Link each test case to a task in the release plan.
    2. Confirm that each has at least one test case.
  3. Create child test plans for sub-teams.
  4. Assign tasks to testers to work on each child test plan.

Supporting tasks:

4. Define test environments

In this step, you prioritize the platforms and test environments you are going to test. Since it is rarely possible to provide thorough coverage of all platform and test environment combinations, it is important that you prioritize. You can use the automated tools that are provided to generate the appropriate combinations. For example, you might be required to limit testing of a particular database, browser, or application server to one operating system or hardware platform, while deciding to test another database, browser, and application server on another operating system or hardware platform.
  1. Plan platform coverage.
  2. Generate new test environments.
  3. Add existing test environments to test plan.

Supporting tasks:

5. Review test plan with stakeholders

In this step, you must confirm that all requirements and planned items (stories) are covered and then review the test plan(s) with stakeholders.
  1. Confirm coverage.
    1. Confirm that all requirements are included in the test plan.
    2. Confirm that all test cases link to stories in the development plan.
    3. Confirm that all requirements include a link to a planned item in the development plan.
    4. Confirm that all planned items (stories) in the development plan have test cases.
    5. Determine if there are additional development plan items that impact test.
  2. Review test plan with development leads and other stakeholders.

Supporting tasks:


By completing this task, you have created one or several test plans and assigned each plan an owner. You have created a broad outline of the test cases that will be needed to test the features that are under development. You have defined entry and exit criteria for each iteration, and you have specified the platforms and environments that you will test. Finally, you have distributed your plans to the various stakeholders for review.

What to do next

Next, you should work together with stakeholders until all plans, test cases, and requirements are approved. You should confirm that the test team has sufficient resources to cover all approved requirements and features in the development plan. Then, begin your testing.

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