Skipping Test Plan!

One of the weird cases I encountered in my experience as a test lead is the request to skip the test plan. In this post, we will look at the test plan and the need for it from my own point of view and experience as a test lead.

Test Plan Definition

According to ISTQB, Test Plan is defined as follows:

A document describing the scope, approach, resources and schedule of intended test activities. It identifies amongst others test items, the features to be tested, the testing tasks, who will do each task, degree of tester independence, the test environment, the test design techniques and entry and exit criteria to be used, and the rationale for their choice,and any risks requiring contingency planning. It is a record of the test planning process.

Test Plan Template

There are several test plan templates according to different standards. One of those standards is the IEEE standard for software test documentation. This standard contains several sections that might/should be included in the test plan depending on the project. In addition, the template can be found on the internet.

Can We Skip the Test Plan?!

As we can see from the previous definition of the test plan, the content of the test plan is very important in order to plan all the test activities of the project. Therefore, skipping this plan is totally not a good decision. In addition, we should all keep in mind that skipping the test plan mean not planning for the test and not planning is equal to planning to failure.

In case the management or programmers underestimate the test plan or the need for the test plan and ask to skip it, test lead should not agree to skip the test plan. There are several reasons for this. One of the them is that test planning and control is the first step in the fundamental test process. Therefore, will our test process still be called “test process” in case we skip one of the major steps in it?!

Another reason not to skip the test plan is related to project progress. Usually and in case any project falls behind its intended schedule, testing time is reduced in order to deliver the project on time. From the beginning of the project, the test plan helps to know how much time is needed for testing and what the consequences will be in case testers are not given enough time for testing. Therefore, all the concerns and issues will be clear to all project team if a decision is made to shorten testing time. As a result, testers will not be the only ones to blame in case of software failure at customer site.

All the best…

* Reference: ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus 2011



Kobi Halperin

about 5 years ago

Dear Anwar, There's the theoretical definitions, and the actual day to day implementation... While in theory all that sounds quite correct, still in many organizations either Test Planning is skipped - or just copied from one project to another. Now - that does not necessarily mean that all the points described above are skipped, some are just described elsewhere or differently: scope, resources and schedule are part of the work plan (Gantt and/or Kanban Stories), finer scope is part of test procedure preface, and many other issues also reside in it. The main issue is Test Approach - which does not change often, and normally described in other internal documents, or discussed verbally - while this can be improved from time to time - it will not happen mearly due to writing it down in a document no one reads or improves along the way. Many items should be reconsidered during the version progress stages - priorities may change as more knowledge to scope and status is found etc. If that is not done - and currently there are no good tools to support it - then wasting time writing yet another "dead" document will not do the trick. @halperinko - Kobi Halperin.


Anwar Bosbool

about 5 years ago

Thanks a lot Kobi for your comment and sharing. Really appreciate it.


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