Jim Whittaker recently wrote an article called The 10 Minute Test Plan. It is a must to read. If you’ve been in testing where you had to write a Test Plan you will be grinning as you read and nodding you head.
To get your interest here is the first 2 paragraphs of Jim’s article:
Anything in software development that takes ten minutes or less to perform is either trivial or is not worth doing in the first place. If you take this rule of thumb at face value, where do you place test planning? Certainly it takes more than 10 minutes. In my capacity as Test Director at Google I presided over teams that wrote a large number of test plans and every time I asked how long one would take I was told “tomorrow” or “the end of the week” and a few times, early in the day, I was promised one “by the end of the day.” So I’ll establish the task of test planning to be of the hours-to-days duration.
As to whether it is worth doing, well, that is another story entirely. Every time I look at any of the dozens of test plans my teams have written, I see dead test plans. Plans written, reviewed, referred to a few times and then cast aside as the project moves in directions not documented in the plan. This begs the question: if a plan isn’t worth bothering to update, is it worth creating in the first place?'
The Ten Minute Test Plan
The nice thing about using Microsoft Test Manager is my test plan is built in and I can update it as things change. I can use Test Scribe to output it to a word document is anyone does want to really read it.