A Test Policy is a high level document and is at the top of the hierarchy of the Test Documentation structure. The purpose of the Test Policy document is to represent the testing philosophy of the company as a whole and to provide a direction which the testing department should adhere to and follow. It should apply to both new projects and maintenance work.
Setting an appropriate test policy by senior managers, provides a robust framework within which testing practitioners can then operate. This will help to ensure the maximization of the strategic value inherent in every project.
Contents of a Test Policy
1. Definition of Testing
Organisations need to be clear why they are testing. This will influence the remainder of the policy document and also the detailed testing techniques that are selected by test managers at the programme and project level.
From the understanding of why testing is required it is possible to specify what the purpose of testing is within the organisation. Without this fundamental linkage the test effort is destined to fail.
Example: ensuring the software fulfills its requirements
2. Description of the test process
It is vital to establish a solid view towards the test process. We should address questions like, which phases and subtasks will the test process include. Which roles will be involved and the document structure associated with each tasks, as well as what test levels need to be considered.
Example: all test plans are written in accordance with company policy
3. Test Evaluation:
How are we going to evaluate the results of testing, what measures will we use to ensure test effectiveness in the project?
Example: effect on business of finding a fault after its release
4. Quality Level to be achieved:
Which quality criteria are going to be tested and which quality level is the system required to achieve prior to its release with regards to these criteria?
Example: no outstanding high severity faults prior to products release
5. Approach to Test Process Improvement
How often and when are we going to assess the usefulness of the current processes in place and what elements need improving and techniques that shall be used to improve the processes.
Example: project review meetings to be held after project completion