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Graphical Test Planning

Wed 13 Feb 2008

In December I went to conference in London and one of the lectures that I went to listen to was about Graphical Test Planning by Hardeep Sharma of Citrix Systems.

Graphical Test Planning is a way of creating a test plan without having to write entire documents. I am sure that most of the readers that will be reading this will be practise full agile development and are probably thinking that I am mad.

Maybe I am mad but I really think that this is a great way to work out what needs to be testing and is a good way to track progress of testing.

The entry below is more my thoughts having tried this technique on web projects and have used a web examples. I hope you enjoy reading it!

Graphical Test Planning is done by creating a structural relationship diagrams. These allow product managers to know what is going to be tested from the day that they decide there is going to be a new version of the product.

What a Graphical Test Plan is or isn't

What a Graphical Test Plan is:

  • A structured relationship diagram
  • A list of behavioural areas that need to be tested
  • A method of getting greating feedback about what needs to be tested
  • A method of tracking progress of design and execution of testing

What a Graphical Test Plan isn't:

  • A flow diagram
  • A tester managers thoughts or mind map
  • A feature list
  • A hand-holding exercise for a test engineer on how to use the application

How To Create A Structured Relationship Diagram

A structured relationship diagram will show what behavioural areas need to be tested on different platforms and different compilers. Below is an example of what a SRD looks like for Selenium.

Its not 100% correct for selenium but I wanted to show something with no coverage.

From this you can see what areas need to be tested and what doesn't. If we carry this theme on we can then start drilling the behavioural areas down into more detailed SRDs and if we were to carry on drilling down we will start to create another form of these diagrams called a Test Case Diagram.

A Test case diagram looks a lot like a SRD except at the end of the digram instead of showing the behavioural areas it will show the expected results. The great thing about this is that you can create the SRD in about 10 minutes and then do the test case diagrams in a few hours and this means that you can have all this test information done before any code is done.

So if we use this metric to create an entire test strategy for a project using graphical test planning compared to the waterfall method of doing things

you would have saved yourself somewhere in the region of 1 man month and you are likely to have fixed a number of flaws in the design before any code is near completion.

I hope that you found this very interesting and I would like to the thank

Hardeep Sharma for showing off this technique at the SIGIST Conference in December.

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