The key features required in a good test management tool: Test case execution plan

In part one of this series I described how important a test case tree structure is as a test management tool, and how using a tree structure can benefit a Quality Assurance (QA) team. In this blog, I will introduce the second important activity a QA team performs: the creation of a test case execution plan.

A test case execution plan is created in the preparation phase of test execution. When the test case execution plan is well defined, the QA team is ready to begin work on test case execution, or testing. A test case execution plan normally includes a test scope, test assignment, schedule, and test environment. The ability to properly define and manage test case execution plans is an important feature for a test management tool.

Test scope

A test scope states what modules/features in the plan must be tested, or what kind of testing must be done. Examples of test scope include build verification, smoke testing, and regression testing. A test case is the basic unit employed to validate the product’s functionality. The QA team normally defines the test scope by choosing a set of test cases from a test case library. A good test case structure that is created using test cases in the library is necessary for the team to easily and effectively choose test cases. A tree structure provides a picture of product modules/features through its nodes, and can select multiple test cases by selecting any node. A tree structure is the best way to choose the test cases that define your test scope. It becomes especially important when you have a large number of test cases (1000 or more) in your test case library, and are preparing to execute at least ten percent of these cases in order to test several product features.

Test assignment

Once the scope of testing is well defined through a set of test cases, the next step is to consider who will take care of each test case during test execution. This task is called test assignment or task assignment. Normally a QA member manages many test cases, so “Bulk Assignment” should be supported in any test management tool. Bulk Assignment makes test assignment easier and saves time when planning tests.

Scheduling and forecasting

The user can monitor and manage the test execution process based on entered estimates and actual test times for each test case. Team resource information is normally clarified before testing starts, so if the management team can estimate the time required for testing, the entire test process can be easily controlled. Forecasting of testing time can be automatically output according to the formula: “Remaining Testing Effort = Estimated Testing Effort — Actual Spent Testing Effort.” Employing a good time management mechanism will help a management team finish its testing tasks on time.

Test environment

The test environment indicates what environments (OS, Browser, Build, etc.) are supposed to be covered in the test plan. The planned test cases from the test scope are usually executed against a specific test environment combination; for example, OS + Browser. As more and more testing is done with multiple test environments, it is good to see an approach that allows for multiple test runs stemming from a single test plan.

Other attributes in a test plan, such as priority and risk management testing, may also be required, depending on the organizations or teams doing the testing. However, the most important components of a good test plan are those discussed in this blog.

In the next post in this series, I will introduce the third key feature of a test management tool: test case execution.

Originally published at Go2Group.