Plan your tests, even when you don’t have time to plan them

Test Plan

How many times have you told yourself you don’t have enough time to plan your tests, so you might as well just get testing…
If you are anything like me, then this happens to you 2 or 3 times a week.

Classic examples are:
– When you run a short test on a piece of code that is “under development”, and the programmer just asked you for feedback.
– When you are running the sanity suite for the 900th time on the same system before or after it has been deployed to production.
– When you are checking your own code, just to make sure it didn’t break anything you didn’t intend to break in the first place.
And there are thousands of other occasions when we just say “the heck with it, I can just run a quick test without planning it”.

Well, if you are also like me, as soon as you catch yourself saying this nonsense you take out a piece of paper and write down the 5 or 6 things you want to test…

Test Plan - checklist

– Because when you are testing something you have never tested before you want to make sure you talk to the programmer and understand what the feature should do (and what it shouldn’t)!
– Because specially when you are running the same test over and over again in auto-pilot, you will get distracted and miss something that may be important in your sanity before or after release
– Because when you are checking yourself you are blinded by your own mistakes, and writing down your testing charter is a good technique to get some perspective and catch some of your own bugs.

But maybe most importantly, because you are a professional tester, and even if you are running a short testing session it is important to define your testing scope, and to be able to assess whether your are really done with your tests or if there are other things you should be testing.


If you want to be treated like a professional tester,
the first step is to treat your testing professionally.


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5 Responses to Plan your tests, even when you don’t have time to plan them

  1. halperinko October 30, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    So… Where would you write these,
    How will you do that with as less interference to the process of thinking about these ideas?

  2. Anonymous October 30, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Hey Kobi,

    Good question, and it will depend on the way you want to work and how much “order” do you want to institute.For me its relatively simple:If I have even 5 minutes to “plan” then I will create a Test in PractiTest and use the compact-view option to fill out the steps as a checklist before I start testing and then while I test as more ideas pop to mind (like a regular ET session).The advantage of this is that you have a log of what you tested and it will help you to answer questions in the future or even when you are asked to re-test this small issue once again you don’t need to start from ZERO.If I don’t have even 5 minutes, then I just take ANY piece of paper I have a write down what I want to test.  Then as I test this stuff I just mark it off the list.Hope this helps!-joel

  3. Devkmr75 November 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I want to go in to testing field, is it necessary to have the expert knowledge of coding

  4. Anonymous November 4, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    This is a question that people keep asking all the time.  Do you need to know how to write code to be a good tester?  The simple answer is NO, you don’t need to be able to write the code, you need to be able to understand the user and the application in order to simulate real usage and find the bugs…

    Still, understanding code and been able to read code will help a lot in order to understand what to test and how a change in one place can have an effect on other places.

    I personally didn’t know how to code when I started testing, on the other hand I had some pretty good experience in computers as an advanced user.  I think I did a pretty good job back then, but now that I know how to read (and write) code I can do a more precise job of choosing what to test and how to test it.

    Hope this helps…

  5. halperinko November 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Sorry for the delayed answer…
    I’m with you on that.
    I also prefer to log the ideas in the ALM Tests tree – of course in order to get as less distructed, I just write the test name (if it’s self explanatory), or add a short purpose.
    Many testers these days follow the hype of Mind-Maps, but I have yet to have found a true advantage to switch into such a tool – I’d rather see the ALM trees evolve to gain the several benefits of mind-maps.
    As discussed in:


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