Questions And Answers Set
A software project test plan is a document that describes the
objectives, scope, approach, and focus of a software testing effort. The process
of preparing a test plan is a useful way to think through the efforts needed to
validate the acceptability of a software product. The completed document will
help people outside the test group understand the 'why' and 'how' of product
validation. It should be thorough enough to be useful but not so thorough that
no one outside the test group will read it. The following are some of the items
that might be included in a test plan, depending on the particular project:
? Identification of software including version/release numbers
? Revision history of document including authors, dates, approvals
? Table of Contents
? Purpose of document, intended audience
? Objective of testing effort
? Software product overview
? Relevant related document list, such as requirements, design documents,
other test plans, etc.
? Relevant standards or legal requirements
? Traceability requirements
? Relevant naming conventions and identifier conventions
? Overall software project organization and personnel/contact-info/responsibilties
? Test organization and personnel/contact-info/responsibilities
? Assumptions and dependencies
? Project risk analysis
? Testing priorities and focus
? Scope and limitations of testing
? Test outline - a decomposition of the test approach by test type, feature,
functionality, process, system, module, etc. as applicable
? Outline of data input equivalence classes, boundary value analysis, error
? Test environment - hardware, operating systems, other required software,
data configurations, interfaces to other systems
? Test environment validity analysis - differences between the test and
production systems and their impact on test validity.
? Test environment setup and configuration issues
? Software migration processes
? Software CM processes
? Test data setup requirements
? Database setup requirements
? Outline of system-logging/error-logging/other capabilities, and tools such
as screen capture software, that will be used to help describe and report bugs
? Discussion of any specialized software or hardware tools that will be used
by testers to help track the cause or source of bugs
? Test automation - justification and overview
? Test tools to be used, including versions, patches, etc.
? Test script/test code maintenance processes and version control
? Problem tracking and resolution - tools and processes
? Project test metrics to be used
? Reporting requirements and testing deliverables
? Software entrance and exit criteria
? Initial sanity testing period and criteria
? Test suspension and restart criteria
? Personnel allocation
? Personnel pre-training needs
? Test site/location
? Outside test organizations to be utilized and their purpose, responsibilties,
deliverables, contact persons, and coordination issues
? Relevant proprietary, classified, security, and licensing issues.
? Open issues
? Appendix - glossary, acronyms, etc.
makes a good test engineer?
A good test engineer has a 'test to break' attitude, an ability to take the
point of view of the customer, a strong desire for quality, and an attention to
detail. Tact and diplomacy are useful in maintaining a cooperative relationship
with developers, and an ability to communicate with both technical (developers)
and non-technical (customers, management) people is useful. Previous software
development experience can be helpful as it provides a deeper understanding of
the software development process, gives the tester an appreciation for the
developers' point of view, and reduce the learning curve in automated test tool
programming. Judgment skills are needed to assess high-risk areas of an
application on which to focus testing efforts when time is limited.
What makes a
good Software QA engineer?
The same qualities a good tester has are useful for a QA engineer. Additionally,
they must be able to understand the entire software development process and how
it can fit into the business approach and goals of the organization.
Communication skills and the ability to understand various sides of issues are
important. In organizations in the early stages of implementing QA processes,
patience and diplomacy are especially needed. An ability to find problems as
well as to see 'what's missing' is important for inspections and reviews.
makes a good QA or Test manager?
A good QA, test, or QA/Test(combined) manager should:
? be familiar with the software development process
? be able to maintain enthusiasm of their team and promote a positive
? what is a somewhat 'negative' process (e.g., looking for or preventing
? be able to promote teamwork to increase productivity
? be able to promote cooperation between software, test, and QA engineers
? have the diplomatic skills needed to promote improvements in QA processes
? have the ability to withstand pressures and say 'no' to other managers when
quality is insufficient or QA processes are not being adhered to
? have people judgement skills for hiring and keeping skilled personnel
? be able to communicate with technical and non-technical people, engineers,
managers, and customers.
? be able to run meetings and keep them focused
What's the role
of documentation in QA?
Critical. (Note that documentation can be electronic, not necessarily paper.) QA
practices should be documented such that they are repeatable. Specifications,
designs, business rules, inspection reports, configurations, code changes, test
plans, test cases, bug reports, user manuals, etc. should all be documented.
There should ideally be a system for easily finding and obtaining documents and
determining what documentation will have a particular piece of information.
Change management for documentation should be used if possible.
What's the big
deal about 'requirements'?
ne of the most reliable methods of insuring
problems, or failure, in a complex software project is to have poorly documented
requirements specifications. Requirements are the details describing an
application's externally-perceived functionality and properties. Requirements
should be clear, complete, reasonably detailed, cohesive, attainable, and
testable. A non-testable requirement would be, for example, 'user-friendly' (too
subjective). A testable requirement would be something like 'the user must enter
their previously-assigned password to access the application'. Determining and
organizing requirements details in a useful and efficient way can be a difficult
effort; different methods are available depending on the particular project.
Many books are available that describe various approaches to this task. (See the
Bookstore section's 'Software Requirements Engineering' category for books on
Care should be taken to involve ALL of a project's significant 'customers' in
the requirements process. 'Customers' could be in-house personnel or out, and
could include end-users, customer acceptance testers, customer contract
officers, customer management, future software maintenance engineers,
salespeople, etc. Anyone who could later derail the project if their
expectations aren't met should be included if possible.
Organizations vary considerably in their handling of requirements
specifications. Ideally, the requirements are spelled out in a document with
statements such as 'The product shall.....'. 'Design' specifications should not
be confused with 'requirements'; design specifications should be traceable back
to the requirements.
In some organizations requirements may end up in high level project plans,
functional specification documents, in design documents, or in other documents
at various levels of detail. No matter what they are called, some type of
documentation with detailed requirements will be needed by testers in order to
properly plan and execute tests. Without such documentation, there will be no
clear-cut way to determine if a software application is performing correctly.
'Agile' methods such as XP use methods requiring close interaction and
cooperation between programmers and customers/end-users to iteratively develop
requirements. The programmer uses 'Test first' development to first create
automated unit testing code, which essentially embodies the requirements.