Crash course for writing Test Objectives

Crash course for writing Test Objectives

People have asked me many times how to get started writing #TestObjectives for Software Testing. Similarly the use of Test Objectives is often discussed, commonly it is indeed used in a broader concept, for example as Test Objectives for Testing. It can also be seen as a chapter in a Test Plan of Test Strategy where overall test objectives for testing are detailed.

Test Objectives for Test Strategy

One of the common software testing job interviewing questions is which one is prepared first, Test Strategy or Test Plan. Other variant of this is, which is the higher level document. To me it doesn’t really matter, commonly Test Strategy is seen as subsection within Test Plan but almost equally often it is a separate document. Different organisations use these terms differently, so just make sure you ask questions to understand how to document these and how these documents are really used for.

Assuming that the Test Strategy document is understood as over arching document for test department or test team, then you should consider the main Test Objectives to be preventing defects and assuring that the end result does meet customer business and user requirements.

Test Objectives for Test Plan

Test Plan is one of the most common test team deliverable, and therefor it is also very well documented on multitude of books, website and blogs. Similarly IEEE 829-2008 standard defines the usual layout and content of the software test plan in detail. Test objectives for Test plan can range from very specific to broad statements, the reason for this is that the term “Test plan” is again used in many different ways depending which organisation you work for.

The common test objectives for test plan are detecting software implementation deviations from requirements or from design specifications, which is just a fancy way of saying, finding defects. Similarly a common test objective is to build confidence by providing statistical information about the level of quality.

Test Objectives for Test Phase

The test plan is usually split into different test phases or levels. You might have component level test phase and system level test phase which are the most common ones. Each test phase usually has specific test objectives defined. These test objectives are commonly expressed in a way of quality targets.  Quality targets can be measured in many ways, for example as number of test cases passed / failed, or number of defects found in each severity group. All these aim to quantify quality in some objective statistical terms. Test Objectives for test plan should define these quality targets. The defect density is also a very common way to measure quality within a certain component or system. The defect density is measured by dividing the total number of confirmed defects with the size of the component. Size of the component is commonly measured as lines of codes or as function points.

Test Objectives for Common elements

When we continue to zoom in we start to get into area what this web site is really for, tips for writing test objectives for common User Interface elements. You will most of the time have design specifications and/or requirement specifications available that are used to define the test scope in your test strategy or test plan but when it comes to the common user interface (UI) elements those are not included or not described in detailed manner. For example common UI elements like date fields, password fields or even simply monetary value field, those usually do not have any specific requirements. There can be high level statements like, “Date should be valid” but nothing more. This sounds OK initially, but when you really start to think about it, how do you define what is “valid”? When you ask that question from yourself, you are on the right track, because indeed there are multitude of different common test objectives that end users expect to work, even if those are not captured in a requirement or design specification.

Check out the following example Test Objectives for common UI elements:

Alternatively you can download an ebook that includes all these Test Objectives and lot more.
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  1. Edwards Smith

    Test objectives will be based on the test specifications of particular fields. Suppose, if there should be test objective for Email field, both valid and invalid cases should be considered to make testing more effective and to meet the needs of an end-user.
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  2. Thu Thuy

    Thank you for your post! It help me understand


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