Dear Del: Help! I Don’t Have a Test Plan!

Gretchen Steenstra | 06.26.14
Topics: Project Management, Tips - Trends - TechTalks

Dear Del,

I am part of a team to test an upgrade to my organization’s AMS. I was told I have to create a test plan. What is a test plan? (Don’t tell my boss I don’t have a test plan.)

A Test Plan Begins with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Believe it or not, you have all the raw materials for a test plan; you just have to pull information together.

Develop a list of common tasks you perform using the AMS. This should include daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly processes.


No SOP? Create a list of all major processes that are completed using the AMS, such as:

  • Create a new account or record
  • Membership join
  • Membership renewal
  • Payment processing
  • Closing a batch/month end processes
  • Event registration
  • Product sales
  • Committee management
  • Reports/outputs

After you create the list, develop a test plan for each area. Here is a format that may work for you.

  1. Purpose of test case
  2. Frequency
  3. Steps to perform process
  4. Expected outcomes
  5. Related activities (reports, email message, etc.)
  6. Include a few ‘real life examples’
  7. Refer to real forms when testing (use a batch from the past that is not included in your test site)

Second, develop a list or location to store test plans.

This should include a form or location to document failed test cases or questions. It’s possible that just one step within a process may fail. When you document a failure, identify the specific step(s) that failed. Make sure you prove all steps of the process with your vendor and when the failure occurs. Screen shots are always helpful; a picture is worth a thousand words!

Last, schedule testing with a buddy.

It is a lot faster to work in pairs; one person can read the case and document results, while the other performs the actions.

Good luck and happy testing!

P.S. Use your updated test plan to create or update your SOP.


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