The Test Management Plan integrates milestones and tasks from both subsidiary and parent plans and baselines. Typically written using Microsoft Project or similar, the Test Management Plan is a living document that is shared and updated regularly with project stakeholders and team members as tasks and milestones are met, rearranged, updated and replanned.
The initial input into the test management plan is usually the key milestones from the main (parent) project management plan. These project milestones should flow down not just to the test management plan, but also to detailed plans for the other teams such as Business Analysis workstreams, Development and Integration, Data, Deployment, and Change Management. Key relevant tasks from those other plans may also end up as inbound dependencies on your test management plan.
From the initial charter discussion you will have identified the test phase(s) that you are responsible for. The project management plan will highlight key milestones such as Go Live dates, and by working with the project manager, deployment team, data team, and development and workstream leads you will be able to identify and synchronise key milestones for testing. Working back from these dates will give you (initially rough) dates by when key planning and preparation activities must be completed. For example, given a project planned Go Live date, the deployment and data teams may consider that they need 3 weeks for final cutover and conversion activities; that will give you a milestone for completing (for example) User Acceptance Testing. If you consider that you need 4 weeks for UAT, then you have a UAT start date milestone, and if your data strategy is to use trial load / mock conversion data then the data and Basis teams now have a UAT start date milestone to meet for environment readiness. Each team is intertwined with dependencies and you will need to work closely with other teams and their plans to ensure the overall project critical path is on track.
The development of the Test Management Plan is iterative, starting with the key milestones and building in tasks, other milestones, and inbound dependencies from other teams as you complete the activities identified in your planning and preparation. An initial shell can be built quite quickly, breaking down the tasks required for each test phase that you are responsible for. Working backwards, you complete test execution on this date, therefore test execution must start no later than this date, therefore test scripts and scenarios need to be completed by this date, therefore testers need to be identified by this date, and so on. Experienced test managers may already have a template plan that contains the most common planning and preparation tasks that can be reused across implementations as an accelerator, and it’s easy to create a simple checklist of activities to include on a test management plan using free online project management software, Microsoft Excel, and even mindmaps, so that you’re ready to add value the moment you step into a test project.
Throughout the test project plan development you should be holding regular reviews with project management, your test team, and other stakeholders including other project teams and the wider business where relevant. One of your first tasks in parallel with the test management plan development will be to write the overall test strategy for your phase(s), including the Responsibility Matrix, and you will need to ensure not only that your matrix aligns with the responsible people that you are assigning tasks to in your test project plan, but that those responsible people are aware of the tasks, how to do them, and by when they should be completed. If this means that you need to hold onboarding sessions or training workshops or devise templates and processes then those are additional tasks that need to be planned as prerequisites in your test project plan.
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