What Should a Software Testing Plan Include?

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vipA software testing plan provides the backbone of the entire software design, development and installation process. Carefully considering all the aspects of a testing plan will help ensure success when starting the software design process, giving a clear direction and path. The testing plan provides information as to how success is defined and how it will be achieved – these are key aspects to making sure the product designed will address the actual needs of the internal or external client.

Defining Resource Requirements

Hardware needs are the first consideration. Having the correct hardware and understanding the capabilities of the system that you are incorporating may necessitate additional hardware purchase. It is also critical to consider the software needs of your new system and whether software will have to be purchased or is available in an open source form. In addition to the software needs of your new system, remember to consider testing tools – which may require additional software or hardware investment – as part of your requirements package. Finally, remember that the new technology will still require staff to implement it. Carefully consider the responsibilities of the staff and whether they will need additional training or not to perform their duties.

Defining Success

Part of having a successful software testing plan is to know what should be tested and what does not need to be tested.

Part of having a successful software testing plan is to know what should be tested and what does not need to be tested. Keeping those factors in mind will help you to define the scope of the project and what actually does need to be done. In addition to having information on what features will and won't be tested, it is critical to understand exactly what you and your team is responsible for. The benefit to having the scope defined on the front end of the project is that it promotes clarity and understanding as the project moves forward.

Exit Criteria

As important as it is to know what you are responsible for before the process ever starts, it is equally critical to understand what milestones constitute the end of the project. Having a fully developed software testing plan will solve many of these issues. Make sure that exit criteria are defined in a way that is measurable in both performance and timing. Having a clear idea as to what is expected – for instance, fixing a particular defect or researching a possible solution – and when it needs to be completed by gives your team and your management the feeling of direction and success as well as clarity as to when the exit is appropriate.

Conclusion of Testing Plans

Trying to determine when it is time to end software testing is more than just completing the exit criteria. While every IT professional wants their system to function perfectly, that may not be the case. Testing may be ended when the situation no longer warrants it. That may be because deadlines have passed or the budget is no longer available to support testing procedures. Either way, the decision will have to be made at some point to end testing.

Creating a software testing plan can be the foundation of success for any software project. Knowing the requirements up front as well as having measurable criteria for success, exit and end of testing make the process clear and understandable to all.

Article by Ryan Sauer

Ryan Sauer is a writer and editor in association with University Alliance. He actively writes about project management in different industries and strives to help professionals succeed in their project management training. Through the University Alliance, Ryan writes to help enable professionals obtain their PMP certification.


  1. Mobile Application Testing10/26/12, 10:57 AM

    Thank you for posting about Software Testing Plan.I really like you Defining Success concept in your article it is very nice.

  2. Great resource material. Thanks. I have been scouring the internet looking for information about selling software that doesn't provide technical support. My employer has spent thousands of dollars trying to promote a software without a technical support team. It is my opinion that this software will NEVER be eligible for store shelves without a "true" technical support team. The software was developed in Korea and doesn't even have a FAQ's resource in English OR Korean.
    Our company is small and has no previous experience with the software industry. What are you thoughts about selling a mediocre software without technical support?