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A test plan is a technical documentation which details a systematic approach to testing a specific system such as a device, machine or software.
The test plan contains a detailed understanding of the workflow and functions of the system and documents how each of those will be tested in order to find out if the system works according to its design, to find bugs, and to determine its actual limitations.
The test plan describes the scope and activities involved in the testing, as well the objective of each activity and how each is to be performed.
It also contains details on the required resources such as equipment and manpower, schedule, and the approach. The plan explicitly identifies the features or workflow to be tested, the person assigned for the testing, training needs if necessary and the pass and fail criteria.
This document is important for determining whether a system or product will be able to meet quality standards before being produced or deployed.
Types of test plans:
Manufacturing or production test plan - for preparing a product for assembly or manufacturing, determining its fitness and for verification and quality control.
Regression test plan - usually made for an ongoing development or already-released product to determine if no functionality has been broken or bugs introduced after further development or product software update or upgrade.
Compliance test plan - for verification of a conceptual product or prototype to determine if it can comply with standards before further development
Acceptance test plan - for the test performed at delivery or deployment of the product, especially complex systems, to find out if everything works as it should after installation.