A test plan is a procedure used to schematically analyze and find the shortcomings or mistakes, if any, in a technical system or product. Through experimental runs of the unit, this process is used to make sure that the unit can function to full capacity, both effectively and efficiently, once it is in full operation. Therefore, the test plan clearly states how the unit or system will be tested, what aspects of it will be tested, who will perform the tests, where and for how long the testing will occur and the overall effectiveness of such testing.
Test plans are commonly used in software production, as this allows for full analysis of the programs before they are sent to production or released to the market. Test plans are also used for hardware manufacturing, such as computer infrastructures and complex manufacturing equipment. These test plans make sure that every hardware or machine component is operating at full capacity and meets all specifications before it enters operation or production.
Test plans are executed by test engineers. These highly-qualified specialists develop the test plan approaches for projects, and they implement these plans to cover every aspect of the given products' functionality. Test engineers work in many technical fields. These include RMA (Reliability Maintainability Availability) engineering, in which they perform test plans on programs, and FQA (Final Quality Audit), the process of checking that a product's quality is good and that it underwent and passed all required tests.
Test plans vary in their procedure outlines. According to the Applied Software Project Management website, the IEEE 829 is a commonly used test plan standard in software production. The IEEE 829 and other formats generally feature the test plan purpose and a description of the product. Test plans clearly specify what components will and will not be tested, and they describe the overall approach to be used throughout the testing process.
Standards that assess the quality, efficacy and efficiency of a product are also included in the test plan. These standards are developed from the best practices in the fields that use test plans. They come from specialized expertise, experimentation, trial and error and customer feedback. These standards set the guidelines that the product must meet and pass before it is ready for operation or release into the market.
Setting and Time Frame
Test plans also include the setting, materials and equipment needed to carry out the test, and they specify the necessary time frame to conduct and conclude the testing process. Companies can then factor this amount of testing time into scheduling their product release dates.