What is Test Plan in Software Testing | Fundamental Concepts

In this blog post, everything related to the common query of "what is a test plan in software testing" is discussed along with its objectives and other related concepts one needs to master.

This post is conceptually based and will focus more on the theory to develop a basic understanding in the reader's mind. 

What is a Test Plan in Software Testing

A test plan is a document that outlines the procedures used to test software. It typically includes information about what needs to be tested, how it should be tested, and by whom. Test plans are usually created by testers or software testing managers and are reviewed and approved by developers. They serve as a guide to help testers test software more efficiently and avoid wasting time on unnecessary steps that are not relevant to the task at hand.

Test cases are a set of test steps used to verify the functionality of a specific feature or bug. They should be written in the format specified by the software developer and cover only one functionality. They are not intended to document every possible use case encountered during testing, but rather to provide a clear and concise way to verify a specific aspect of the software. For example, when testing the payment processing functionality of an online store application, you would write one test case to verify the process, rather than several test cases covering different payment methods.

Objectives of the Test Plan

The objectives of a test plan should be the main purpose of the test and should be measurable, achievable, and realistic in terms of time and resources. The objectives for each test should align with those from previous tests and be consistent in nature. For example, if previous sales tests were focused on increasing conversion rates through A/B testing, then the next test should also include elements of conversion rate optimization.

Structure of a Typical Test Plan

The process of planning and designing a test in software testing is called test development. It typically consists of the following steps:

Test Planning:

In this step, the tester identifies what needs to be tested and defines the scope of the testing. The tester decides how much time will be allocated for each type of test and whether manual or automated testing will be done first. For example, when creating an automated regression test suite, it makes sense to start by writing one large unit test file with all possible inputs, and then create smaller files based on the initial tests and new tests as they are added.

Test Compilation:

Test compilation involves compiling all tests into a single file, which can be done manually or with tools like NUnit. Test compilation can save time by reducing the number of files in the project repository and increase readability by grouping tests according to their purpose or target type.


Instrumentation connects test cases to specific hardware or software and can be done manually or with test automation tools like Selenium WebDriver. Test automation frameworks provide an easy way for developers who do not have experience writing tests to have their code reviewed before deployment.

Test Execution:

Test execution involves running a test and recording the results. The tester must check for errors and correct them before proceeding to the next step.

Verification and Validation:

Verification and validation are the two main parts of a test plan. Verification confirms that a system is working as expected, while validation confirms that it meets all requirements. For example, if a feature works on a phone or tablet but not on an iOS device, the tester will need to verify that it works in both environments before moving on to validation. It is important to test each feature individually to avoid errors caused by combining multiple features at once.

Wrapping Up:

This concludes our discussion on the topic of "What is a Test Plan in Software Testing." A test plan serves as a roadmap to guide you through the testing process and ensure that it is carried out efficiently and effectively. It should contain information about what needs to be tested, how it should be tested, and by whom. Test objectives should be clearly defined and measurable, achievable, and realistic. The structure of a typical test plan consists of several steps including Test Planning, Test Compilation, Instrumentation, Test Execution, and Verification and Validation. By following a well-designed test plan, you can ensure that your testing project is completed successfully and meets all necessary requirements.

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