A Framework for QA Test Planning

A Framework for QA Test Planning

Quality Assurance is hard; so we’ve built a framework and plan template in order to help you get started planning. If you’re new to QA test planning, this article will answer all of your questions and provide a framework for QA test planning. 

Recap | What is QA?

QA is the process of validating that a product meets quality standards. It ensures that the product has no defects or malfunctions by testing it against agreed-upon specifications. It also helps identify any issues with usability early on in the development cycle. This business process transforms a product from the conceptual stage to the market-ready stage.

What is a QA test plan?

A QA (Quality Assurance) plan is a document that outlines the steps to perform the necessary QA testing for your business.

The plan is primarily intended for the project team. That might include the QA team members, project managers, developers, testers, and any other stakeholders.  It aims to establish a common understanding of the QA approach and ensures everyone is aligned with the objectives. It wants to get to the necessary detail of the budget, scope, time requirements, and activities necessary to achieve the goals it sets out; but it should not tire out the reader

QA plan orientation

We’d tend to divide up QA test plans by activity style or by outcome. In general, we prefer the outcome-oriented QA approaches because they tend to develop a more sophisticated bridge between activity and outcome.


QA activities


Test case execution

Exploratory testing

User surveys 

Performance testing  

Penetration testing 


Bread-and-butter scripts for testers to follow and identify a successful outcome

Testing which doesn’t follow a script to find bugs 

Audit questions for users, which you can filter by category 

A range of automated tests to identify performance in various environments 

Attempts to penetrate security system by hackers inside and


QA programmes  


Ongoing general testing 

New feature launch  

New market launch 

Regulatory compliance 




The testing you undertake on your live product 

The testing playbook for when you launch a new feature

The testing playbook for when you launch a new market

Testing in order to achieve regulatory compliance 

May include penetration testing and other security protocols 

Our advice 

Ensure you include some exploratory testing in addition to test cases 

Check out our guide to regression testing

Check out our general article about localization testing 

Check out our page on accessibility testing

Ask us about our partners in security testing 


QA outcomes 


Growth by market 

NPS by market 

Revene by market


Prioritize test cases and bug scenarios towards your growth engines

Prioritize test cases and bug scenarios towards what impacts your NPS

Prioritize test cases and bug scenarios towards what impacts your revenue 

Easy wins

Understand your key growth levers and focus on a mix of functional and user testing there 


Exploratory testing to unearth irritating, non-critical issues

Payment integrations in smaller markets can be bug reservoirs – ensure you’re clean

Components and documents generally required for a QA test plan

Our generic template would include approximately the following elements in approximately the following order. This will change based on your testing.

Plan Section #01 – Introduction

  • Test Plan ID:   a unique identifier for reference and identification.

  • Goal: define the goal(s) your tests are aiming to solve 

  • Test Summary: overview your testing activities in a concise way; with sections we may have to reprise in the body of the plan. Refer to activities, environments, labour fulfilments, in broad terms 

  • Timings: including timelines and dates

  • Investment: if appropriate 

Plan Section #02 – Method 

  • Test subject: compile a list of features which require testing. This may include 

    • A reiteration: what are you testing for, as abstract 

    • Units being tested

    • Device and version management approach

    • Features and software areas being tested

    • It can be helpful to include exclusion lists to avoid scope creep of the project.

  • Methodology: describe your test approach. This includes:

    • Test breakdown – for example, exploratory audits, test case reviews, compatibility testing

    • If applicable, define your pass/fail criteria both for test cases and the test run as a whole

    • Manual vs automated test distribution 

    • Device and version management methodology. Think about your device and OS requirements, and then any operational requirements to make that work. 

  • Schedule: describe your timeline and labour breakdown. This may include:

    • Define roles, responsibilities, and deliverables for team members.

    • Timeline 

    • Coordinated dependencies and responsibilities 

    • Set milestones and deadlines for timely completion.

Plan Section #03 – Price & timeline 

  • Operational demands: describe your timeline and labour breakdown. This may include:

    • Estimate: Plan time and cost estimates for project management.

    • Tools and Resources: Specify specialized tools and resources for testing.

    • Staffing and Training Needs: Determine personnel, roles, and training requirements.

    • Risks: Identify high-impact risks and mitigation strategies

    •  Document critical assumptions and dependencies.

Why do you need a test plan?

What happens if you don't do QA? A test plan will help identify potential problems early on, which saves time and money in the long run.

Testing your product is preventative maintenance that ensures you launch a high-quality product and don’t end up with tons of costly bugs. When creating a test plan, think about what your company or product is going to be testing. You should also assign responsibilities and determine the necessary tools, scheduling tips, software, people and processes to make the test plan effective. 

What separates a good from a bad test plan?

A QA test plan is designed to outline the testing approach, objectives, scope, and strategies for a specific project or product. It serves as a reference document that helps stakeholders understand the testing goals, timelines, resources, and deliverables. The plan also ensures that testing efforts are aligned with project requirements and quality standards.

In our experience, a good QA test plan exhibits the following qualities:

1. Clear and Comprehensive: A good test plan clearly defines the testing objectives, scope, and methodologies. It covers all relevant aspects of testing, including test types, levels, and environments.

2. Realistic and Feasible: A good test plan sets achievable goals and considers resource constraints. It provides a realistic timeline, accurately estimates effort, and aligns with the project's schedule.

3. Well-Structured and Organized: A good test plan is well-structured and easy to navigate. It follows a logical flow, with clear sections and subheadings, allowing readers to quickly locate specific information.

4. Detailed and Specific: A good test plan provides detailed information about the testing approach, including the techniques, tools, and metrics to be used. It specifies test deliverables, test data requirements, and responsibilities of the test team members.

5. Flexible and Adaptable: A good test plan acknowledges that changes may occur during the project lifecycle. It includes a change control process and is adaptable to accommodate modifications without compromising the overall testing objectives.

On the other hand, a bad test plan may exhibit the following shortcomings:

1. Lack of Clarity: A bad test plan may be ambiguous, lacking clear objectives, scope, or testing methodologies. This can lead to misunderstandings and misaligned expectations among project stakeholders.

2. Inadequate Detail: A bad test plan may lack crucial details, such as specific test scenarios, test environment descriptions, or test data requirements. This can result in inefficient testing efforts and missed defects.

3. Unrealistic Timelines: A bad test plan may set unrealistic timelines, either too tight or too lenient, which can lead to rushed testing or unnecessary delays in project delivery.

4. Poor Organization: A bad test plan may lack proper organization, making it difficult for readers to find relevant information or understand the testing approach. This can lead to confusion and hinder effective communication among team members.

In summary, a well-crafted QA test plan is a crucial document for guiding testing activities. It should provide a clear, detailed, and organized outline of the testing process, enabling stakeholders to understand the testing objectives, scope, and strategies. By following best practices and addressing potential shortcomings, a QA test plan contributes to efficient and effective testing, ultimately enhancing the quality of the software product.

How to create the perfect QA test plan

In order to create the perfect test process, you need to focus on implementing processes. This section will provide a framework for creating a QA test plan.

Step 1. Analyze the product

When creating a QA test plan, you need to break down your product into smaller components. This will allow you to identify the best testing process based on the type of product being created:

  • Identify all features of your product

  • Determine how many test cases are needed for each feature

  • List out everything that has to be tested


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Step 2. Analyze the target audience

Another factor that should be considered when creating a QA test plan is your target audience. You need to make sure that you are putting the customer first. This will also ensure that the user is kept in mind during the testing process.

Step 3. Design a strategy

Gather all of the test cases and design a QA testing strategy - this helps you identify not only what needs to be tested, but also when it should be tested for optimal results.

Defining the scope of testing - you need to define the scope of the testing before you get started. This includes deciding what needs to be tested, who will do the testing and when it should be completed.

Identifying types of testing - once you’ve identified the scope,  it's time to determine what types of testing need to be performed. This includes understanding how much testing is needed, as well as the security and privacy risk for your product.

Designing the test approach - after you’ve defined the scope, tested for types of testing and identified the risks involved, it's time to create your test approach.

Step 4. Define the objectives

The next step is to figure out what the objectives of your QA testing are. This includes identifying who is responsible for testing, deciding what will be tested when it should be completed and how the results will be measured. You also need to determine which features need to be tested and how these will be broken down (such as primary vs. secondary objectives). You should consider using SMART objectives for your QA test.


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Step 5. Determine the criteria of the test

For each feature of your product, you need to determine what criteria need to be met for the test to be successful. These criteria can be broken down into two main subcategories.

Suspension criteria - suspension criteria are conditions that would require the testing to be temporarily stopped.

Exit criteria - exit criteria are conditions that constitute a successful test. When an exit criterion is met, the test can move on to the next stage.

Step 6. Plan resources

Now that you have a strategy and test plan in place, it's time to determine what resources need to be used to get the job done. This includes:

People - figuring out how many people are needed in the team tasks management of the testing.

Time - how much time is required for QA testing.

Tools - if any testing and task management tools will be used during the test process.

Budget - you’ll need to consider the size of your QA testing budget.

Step 7. Plan the test environment

The next step is to design and plan the QA testing environment. This includes everything from where the tests will be performed to how it should be done and who will do it. Here's a basic to-do list:

  • Identify a specific location where testing will occur.

  • Define the types of devices needed for testing.

  • Assign people to different parts of the QA test plan.

Step 8. Schedule and estimation

This step is all about getting your plan ready to go. This includes scheduling the tests for when they need to be performed and how long it should take to complete them.

Step 9. Determine the test deliverables

Last but not least, the deliverables need to be determined. This is where you convey your findings after testing is complete. The goal is to develop a QA test plan that works for your environment and goals. A solid strategy needs to be in place in order to ensure optimal results.


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