Test plan : Does it need to be a detailed document?

Recently one asked me does the test plan needs to be a lengthy document.

My immediate answer was “No”.

Because of the puzzled look, I continues.

Lengthy documents used mainly in projects that used the waterfall method. In Agile world, the documentation is minimal. Yes, Test planning is a very important and essential activity that everyone should do. However, it should not be a lengthy document where no one reads or no one have the time to maintain it or yet do not have time to create it in the first place. It should capture the essential functionality that effected. We can use mind maps or a simple Excel table.

Then I saw a smile…

I am a big fan of test plans. In my current gig there is one big product, there are feature implementations, and extensions that happen every year to cater new business potentials and to retain customers. We are in continuous delivery mode where releases happen every week. Yes, short turn around and very happy customer base. When the new features prioritised and up for discussion (requirement gathering or design or estimate) there is a high possibility that these features will not implement in next few weeks. Some could be in months because suddenly work priority changed. (This project structure and agile concepts usage may not agree with you but it works… It works for the project at least. So we will skip all the questions around it) .How do I keep my thoughts over the design/requirements and possible break points?

I do the test planning right after the discussions. It will cover various things such as the local the impact be, what areas will be effected from the implementation, what areas I think will effect with the changes, high level workflow  or user journey, rules that being discussed, what customer base should be effected and not etc. This will be a mind map or a simple table.

When the functionality is up for development, then these test plans help me to gather my thoughts. What my thinking was. I was practicing this for many feature implementations and it always helpful. Because these notes are simple and to the point they are useful to everyone who are involved with that piece of work. I even used few of these artifacts to look back at any time if someone come to me and ask “Hey do you know what we have done in x feature by any chance?”

I may not use the conventional test plans. However, the planning I do works very well for my current project and me. This not only help me to collect my thoughts. I try to learn from others and implement the best practices they recommend. If it works, I continue to use it. I may do adjustments to cater to the project need. Otherwise lookout for more.
It is a continuous learning process and I hope you learn something new today or I have given a success story of a method you wanted to try.

Sample:

Feature name
Tool ABC
Region affected UK, US  Initial development will be focused only for US
Browsers Default list IE7 to IE11, Latest Firefox, Latest Chrome, Latest Safari
Changes to Landing Page Template Change Feature flagged until the MVP is implemented / Navigation template ABC
Initially the content will be only enabled for US
Landing page category show as Modules instead of Categories
Sections Landing Page Logged out view About ABC box hidden
Logged in : unentitled  view About ABC box shows. (Text will be managed via content management tool)
Logged in : entitled  view About ABC box shows. (Text will be managed via EMT)
New and updated Logged out view 10 most recent articles of all articles
Logged in : unentitled  view 10 most recent articles of all articles
Logged in  : entitled  view 10 most recent articles of all articles
Content Modules 3 content module placeholders as default for all Tools
Icon New icon should displayed along side with a new colour
Search ABC tool articles should not be searchable via Main search
Local search box should be available
Search results Should return ABC articles on results
HR Learning Center refine filter should be available
Breadcrumb Breadcrumb should display on ABC tool from landing page onward to categories and articles.
Footer ABC tool should not display under Tools section
Tools Page ABC tool should not list under a defined business category
 Menu ABC tool should not list on main menu
EMT User should be able to add categories to ABC via EMT
Adding article source ABC is not MVP
Article page Only subscribers will be able to view the articles
Download feature should not be available.
S3 resources If S3 resources being mapped in to the ABC articles
Article styles The default functionality should be applied
Print article The default functionality should be applied
Subscribe form Not mentioned on initial requirements.
Request a demo form Not applicable as the functionality is for US
Feedback form Not applicable as the functionality is for US
Entitlements ABC will be an individual product
Product name : ABC_product_name
Tags Standard analytics tags should be included
Article Tags No special article tags
Google site map Should not index on Google. Sitemap should have No index, No follow to the tool
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