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Why is Documentation important in QA? Creating Clear and Comprehensive Test Plans

5 Apr
5 Minutes
Software Testing

Table of content

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    Mistakes are inherent to human nature, and software development and testing often reveal bugs and errors caused by these slip-ups.

    This is where documentation becomes invaluable for Quality Assurance (QA).

    By following a detailed QA process and maintaining thorough documentation, teams can identify and rectify defects, reduce risks, and enhance the overall quality of their software.

    In this blog, we will explore the importance of documentation in creating comprehensive test plans and uncover the benefits it brings to software development projects.

    Table of Content
    1. Documentation in QA: The Goal
    2. What is a Test Plan?
    3. Why is Documentation Necessary for QA Activities?
    4. Steps to Write Cohesive Test Plan for QA Documentation
    5. Employ QAble’s Best Practices for Documentation in QA
    6. FAQs

    Documentation in QA: The Goal

    With the rising complexity of software products, it is difficult to understand where you require and don't require testing. Crucial tasks such as meeting deadlines, product requirements, team skills, etc. are evolving rapidly.

    Thus, you cannot move on with conducting proper documentation unless you keep your quality testing flawless.

    QA testing is carried out at every stage of software development to improve system reliability and quality. During the testing process, the QA team ensures that the product can successfully perform every function as expected.

    Hence, if you too don’t want to miss any feature or section for testing, then documenting a clear test plan is a must.

    What is a Test Plan?

    A test plan is a precise document that describes the testing scope. It also highlights the necessary steps and resources required for testing. It’s created before the beginning of any new project to collect requirements, and references to clear objectives.

    Essential Elements a Test Plan Must Include

    These are the following elements that you must include in a test plan.

    • Defining Testing Scope - Defining the scope is comprises the first step to creating a test plan. It determines the objectives, functionalities, and features to be covered for testing. It outlines the specific areas to be covered and helps in funneling out the parts that are not to be covered to define the scope in a comprehensive manner.
    • Defining Entry and Exit Criterion - It specifies the QA about the starting(entry) point or criterion and the conclusion (exit) criterion for the testing.
    • Document Identifier - It specifies the project name, date of creation, and version.
    • Resources - In this section, you need to mention the testing software, programs, equipment, and applications for test management.
    • The task of Lists - This section specifies testing applications for the software. It highlights the functions and components which should be tested.
    • Testing Approach - You must explain the strategy for testing in detail. It includes test methods, entry criteria, test types, and levels.
    • Work Schedule - Mention all important dates when any test is performed.
    • Criteria - Highlight the software quality that every product should meet. It will help clients have a clear understanding about the steps you will implement for testing.
    • Team Members - Specify how many people are required for the particular testing, Highlight the skills they must have to complete the testing successfully.
    • Risk Assessments - Typical risks include: components provided by the third party not working, data gaps, etc. Every risk should have a specific probability of occurrence and the potential damage it can cause and measures should be planned beforehand to contain and minimize them.
    • Documentation - List the necessary documents to use in the project. It includes test cases, checklists, descriptions of reports, and fields, which you will provide to various stakeholders.

    Also Read: Mind Maps: A Power Tool for Enhancing Quality Assurance

    Why is Documentation Necessary for QA Activities?

    Documentation in QA plays an important role in QA activities providing a foundation for successful testing and ensuring the overall quality of the software. Let’s explore the following reasons why documentation can be essential for quality assurance.

    Why is Documentation Necessary for QA Activities?

    Defining Test Plan Efficiently

    • Documenting test plans is important for effective QA. Testers can seamlessly utilize the scope outline, strategies, and objectives.
    • Creating a detailed test plan guides testers on taking the right steps.
    • Things need to be very clear while testing. The test scope must be properly laid down.
    • The testing methods to be used also must be decided in a strategic way.
    • Additionally, the expected results for the same should also be figured out. This helps to remove uncertainties.
    • It also helps to cover most scenarios while testing.

    Knowledge Retention and Transfer

    • Documentation serve as a proper reference place for QA activities.
    • They act as a reliable source for test cases, testing scenarios, and the test data.
    • It helps to fill the knowledge gaps among team members.
    • Documentation is very useful while training new team members.
    • It ensures that the testing approaches being utilized are done in a consistent manner.

    Auditing and Compliance

    • Documentation helps to keep the testing process compliant with the rules.
    • It acts as a tangible proof of the guidelines followed while internal and external audits
    • It helps making the testing process transparent.
    • Following compliance guidelines also reflects that the QA teams take it seriously while testing industry specific applications.

    Risk Managements

    • Documentation helps in the identification of potential risks related to testing processes
    • It helps in keeping a close eye on the complex scenarios
    • It ensures that the risks related to functionalities and integration components are addressed properly.
    • It helps to take actions stepwise to manage risky tasks in an efficient manner.

    Continuous Improvement

    • Documentation helps in better evaluation of QA activities.
    • Regular updates to the document helps in making informed decisions for QA team members.
    • Documentation helps to continually improve the skills of team members in a consistent manner.
    • It bridges the gap between the QA teams and the stakeholders.
    • This makes for an improved product. The business requirements can be met in a systematic manner even if there are scope changes.

    Steps to Write Cohesive Test Plan for QA Documentation

    Let’s explore the following steps that you must follow for QA process documentation.

    Steps to Write Cohesive Test Plan for QA Documentation

    #Step 1- Analyzing the Product

    • Analyzing the product gives a clear idea of what aspects of the software should be tested, specific functionalities, etc.
    • The product must be properly reviewed. There should be a clear understanding of the product specifications.
    • The related documents for the
    • Thoroughly review and understand the product specifications and other relevant documentation.

    #Step 2- Designing Test Strategy

    • The overall approach for testing must be clearly defined.
    • The levels of testing must be included in it. Additionally, the test types and test methods to be used must also be there.
    • The strategies for resources at hand must be clearly assesses.
    • The risks related to the project must be clearly stated along with the project deadlines.
    • In many cases, there are requirements specific to the product. The testing strategy much account for these as well.

    #Step 3- Setting Test Objectives

    • The goals for testing should be clearly defined.
    • The objectives and testing methods like functional, load and performance, and the compliance testing should be identified.
    • Priorities should also be properly laid down for testing activities.

    #Step 4- Stating the Test Criteria

    • The criterion for evaluating the product quality must be identified. This helps in determining the efficacy of the testing efforts.
    • Important information like the pass or fail criteria or the acceptance criteria must be defined.
    • The metrics for KPI must also be decided accordingly. This helps in getting clear insights about the results.
    • It ensures that the testing efforts are properly evaluated.

    #Step 5- Documenting Defect Management Process

    • The progress must be tracked in a detailed manner
    • Reporting for the same must be taken into account for better test management
    • The defect priority levels must be set.
    • The workflow for resolving defects must also be clearly laid down.

    #Step 6- Reviews and Approval of Tests

    • The next step for QA documentation requires the review and approval of tests.
    • After sharing the test plans with the stakeholders, gather their inputs and feedback to ensure accuracy with the project requirements.
    • Including feedback into the plan helps to get an improved product.
    • Additionally, getting formal approval before proceeding with testing helps to keep every one in the loop

    #Step 7- Updates and Maintenance

    • Keeping up with the test plan with regular updates is mandatory.
    • QA professionals should be accountable to ensure that the test plan must remain accurate to align with the changing dynamics of the project.
    • Maintenance of test plans helps in keeping the stakeholders informed to provide a reliable reference for testing activities.

    By following the above steps, you can efficiently create a well-structured and cohesive test plan for QA documentation. It ensures that the testing effort is focused, organized, and aligned with the objectives and requirements of the project.

    Also Read: How ChatGPT Makes Testing Better?

    Employ QAble’s Best Practices for Documentation in QA

    QAble understands the importance of comprehensive QA documentation in ensuring the success of your software projects. We are the best Software Testing Company in India and our experienced team of testers follows a range of best practices to bring out the best quality in your products.

    As a leading QA Consulting company, we believe in implementing a precise and professional approach and adhering to the industry standards, and incorporating the following best practices to achieve peak accuracy in documentation.

    • Using Consistent Structure of Format- Focus on maintaining a consistent structure across the QA documentation process. Maintaining a particular format in headings, subheadings, and numbering enhances readability and understanding among readers.
    • Add Essential Details- Apart from regular details, provide specific instructions for test execution preconditions and dependencies. Furthermore, mention the expected results and any additional notes or considerations.
    • Incorporating Relevant Screenshots- Visual aids such as screenshots, diagrams, and images, help clarify complex concepts, highlight important elements, or provide examples.
    • Provide Cross References- Use cross-references within the documentation to link related sections, documents, or artifacts.
    • Avoiding Jargon and Technical Terms- Excessive use of technical jargon and acronyms can confuse readers. So, only use when necessary and provide clear definitions to ensure clarity among the team members.
    • Descriptive Language and Concise Language- Use concise sentences and paragraphs to keep the documentation concise and easy to read. Avoid unnecessary repetition or verbosity.
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    Written by Nishil Patel

    CEO & Founder

    Nishil is a successful serial entrepreneur. He has more than a decade of experience in the software industry. He advocates for a culture of excellence in every software product.


    What is the importance of a test plan in QA documentation?

    Test plan for QA documentation highlights the clear path to start testing activities with a systematic approach such as testing strategies, goals, scope, etc.


    We Manage Your Test Documentation and Optimize Your Software Testing Life-Cycle.

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