Can you recommend a good test plan template for an agile testing team? I know there are templates for testing on the web and have already looked at some found by search engines, but I could really use something lightweight and something that has already been tried by skilled testers and is known to work well. Many templates I've seen give me the feeling that writing test documents is expected to be a third of the work that those testers are doing, but my team really prefers to use less documentation and more actual test writing. We use a wiki for documentation, so an approach that lends itself to living documents would be great.

My hope is that using a more structured approach to test planning will increase the usefulness of my test plan while reducing the effort to create it by allowing me to think about the tests, and not the format and structure of the plan. My workplace does not have something already on hand, so whatever I start doing might be adopted by the company.

2 Answers 2


To be honest, even a test plan template that had been used successfully by other agile teams might not work well for your team - but seeing what other people are doing is useful for getting ideas about different approaches.

I've also been thinking about the same issue for a while now. My approach so far has been pragmatic: I was working in a small team, and was initially the only tester to 6 developers. Creating documentation instead of testing would have been a very poor choice. Creating documentation instead of testing, so that the developers could run the tests: another very poor choice, IMHO.

Currently, I will add a page to our wiki for each story, and that will hold a set of test ideas, used as a basis for exploratory testing sessions. If necessary, I will also add setup information there. I would prefer to keep that separate, in order to keep it as a resource that can be updated more easily, but at the moment it goes onto the same page. (I generally don't like mixing the "how" and the "what", it makes it harder to see "what" you're doing if you have to pick it out of pages of "how"). We don't have a template for those pages - I don't feel we've needed it yet. When we do, I will add one, and then tweak it as we learn more. At the moment, it works for me to give an overview of what areas we'll look at when testing, and being on the wiki, anyone can add items to it if they feel something is missing.

I have considered setting up a low tech testing dashboard, but at the moment, I believe that our whiteboard is sufficient for us to see how stories are progressing at this point - though as the team grows, we may want to revisit that.

You also wanted to know what other Agile testers are doing - here are a few blog posts that I think you'll find useful:

I very much like Marlena Compton's description of how she uses a wiki for testing at Atlassian: http://marlenacompton.com/?p=1894

Again, a light-weight approach, keeping test objectives tied to the story. She uses a testing dashboard for a high level view of what features are in a release. The feature links to a page of test objectives, which are sorted under different headings - function, domain, stress, data, flow, and claims. This gives a "at-a-glance" view of what areas/types of tests you have planned, and you can see instantly if one area has a lot fewer tests. This may be an approach you'd find useful.

Trish Khoo also has some interesting things to say on using a wiki, more on the level of structuring the individual tests (they've moved to using a Gherkin-style "Given, When, Then" format for their tests): http://ubertest.hogfish.net/?p=243

Elizabeth Hendrickson's blog post about specialised test management systems is a little off-topic, but you may find some useful points raised: http://testobsessed.com/2009/10/06/specialized-test-management-systems-are-an-agile-impediment/

  • Thanks, this is great. It sounds like what I'm coming up with is similar to what is already in use. I really like making a test plan because I find it allows me to "brainstorm" tests before I start automating them, and my test process usually then ends up far more thorough. The devs like being able to review the test process. I only maintain manual test scripts; the automated test plans are for planning purposes only. Feb 1, 2011 at 0:53
  • Excellent - glad it was helpful. For brainstorming, have you thought about using mindmaps? This Lisa Crispin blog post describes how they used mindmapping for theme planning: lisacrispin.com/wordpress/tag/mind-maps
    – testerab
    Feb 3, 2011 at 0:50

sorry i can't recommend one but it sounds like you should create one from scratch for your team based on your companies individual requirements and testing needs.

  • Thanks, Ross, I think that's where I'm headed. Just looking for ideas about what is the correct balance for Agile Testing. Jan 5, 2011 at 18:23

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