The team typically develops test plans and procedures as soon as the relevant phase in the life cycle has been completed. Once the initial documents have been created (see SWE-104, SWE-114), it is important to keep them up-to-date as requirements change throughout the project life cycle. Continuous updates help avoid delays in testing caused by waiting until testing begins to update the test plans and procedures to accurately reflect the requirements.
Test documentation that may require updating includes:
- System test plan and procedures.
- Acceptance test plan and procedures.
- Unit test plans and procedures.
- Regression test plans and procedures.
- End-to-end test plans and procedures.
- Integration test plans and procedures.
- Test cases.
- Test scripts.
- Test data.
- Test schedule.
- Traceability matrix.
- Test effort estimates.
Using a traceability matrix which identifies the test plans, procedures, scripts, test cases and even test data associated with each requirement can be helpful when determining the effect of a requirements change on the testing documentation and plans. See SWE-072 for guidance regarding the traceability matrix for test plans.
See Test Plan Checklist, Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
It may be helpful to include as a checklist item in the relevant life cycle reviews confirmation that test documentation has been updated to reflect any requirements changes made at that point in the project life cycle. Additionally, if checklists for the test plans and procedures are used, consider including a checklist item to confirm that the plans and procedures are consistent with the software requirements; it may be helpful to repeat those checklists when making revisions to the test plans and procedures.
It may also be helpful if the project can establish a mechanism by which the test plan developers are notified of changes to the requirements once those changes are approved. Consider:
- Providing copies of approvals for change requests that affect requirements to the Software Lead Engineer.
- Providing copies of Change Control Board (CCB) minutes so test plan developers can check for approved requirements changes.
- Including a test team representative as part of the CCB or other authorized group responsible for approving changes to requirements.
When updating test plans and procedures, use configuration management principles (see SWE-080).
Consult Center Process Asset Libraries (PALs) for center-specific guidance and resources related to keeping test plans and procedures current as requirements change.
Additional guidance related to the test plans and procedures may be found in the following related requirements in this handbook:
Bidirectional Traceability Between Software Test Procedures and Software Requirements
Software Test Plan
Track and Evaluate Changes