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There are test plans and then there are test plans. What kind of test plan you
write depends on what people want to test.
If your test suite is simply supposed to prove that the software (or hardware)
does what it said it would, then John Posada's answer about using the
Functional Specification is fine.
If your test suite is supposed to prove more than that, perhaps including the
overblown language in the Market Requirements Doc or something like that, then
you can start with the Functional Spec. but you'll have to go beyond that,
perhaps to include things like stress testing or usability testing of both the
software and the docs (hint! hint!). At this point, you probably want to
collaborate with whoever in your QA department is assigned to this particular
project and see what they think should be included.
If your test suite is an Acceptance Test, however, you're in for some fine
education <she said darkly>. An Acceptance Test is frequently a power-user
test, one which looks at all sorts of performance details. This should not be
attempted alone! You will need the help of the product manager to define
exactly what needs to be tested and what the acceptable limits are, and the
product manager will probably be passing on to you what one or more customers
have indicated are acceptable criteria.
The one common thing about all the types of tests described above is that they
usually contain various kinds of procedures. What's in the procedures, however,
depends on the kind of test, the environment in which the test takes place, and
the kinds of measurements or other results that the intended audience wants to