Who should write a Test Plan - Test Responsible or the developers who develop the product or both together?
We are in the process of introducing Testing process. We have agreed upon to have a Test Plan. Development and Test say that the other one has to write. Who should be writing this actually and written by whom, will it be effective? If developers have to write and testing team has to verify and validate it, what sort of verification/validation has to be done?
Test Plan should be prepared by the Test Lead and it should be prepared at starting stage of the project. It is not related to developers.
The plan should say the scope of the project and testing startegy to be followed for the project.
If there is no lead then the test manager should write it. and as Vaiyapuri states, the test plan is the intellectual property of the testing department and should be submitted by test to the project manager.
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill ~
Usually test plans are written once requirement is frozen and also design documents are in place. These are basic input documents for writing test plan. Even if design is in midway, requirements spec should be vital input for a basic test plan.
Test plan is written by the Testing Team Lead but not by the developers or together. It is written after the requirements are closed. Since the job of the testing team starts once the requirments are done. Every company has it's own Test Plan templates which describes the testing effort and the methods that are followed in testing a particular application. It also defines the areas which you test and the areas which you do not test. It also tells you the test schedule and resources.
The Test Plan should be a living document that the test staff (Lead, Manager, whomever is going to test) begins to write right after the beginning of the project. At various milestones during the requirements gathering phase (or whatever you call it) the document incorporates information pertinent to the testing phase of the project. Once the requirements phase is done the final draft of the test plan is built, and needs to be reviewed with the appropriate stakeholders (Marketing, Tech. Support, Project Management, Development, and Executive Managment) to ensure content of the document is on target. And to ensure that the communication process is established and understood how it will work.
Once feedback is collected and incorporated a final test plan is created and reviewed/approved by the stakeholders. This needs to occur in the first 1/3 of the design/development phase of the project. From this the other testing artifacts (Test Suites, Strategy, Test Cases, Data, Test Environment & Configuration) can begin to be built.
This way you ensure you are running parallel with the development teams and will meet up at the first release to Test (meaning the test group will be pretty much ready to begin).
This assumes a Team approach and the appropriate level of staffing and management support for the Test team and effort.
The sooner the better is a good plan to follow.