10 steps to developing an effective automation test plan

10 steps to creating an effective automation test plan

With many benefits coming from improving your processes and saving time to producing better quality software, the adoption of automation testing is skyrocketing. However, like any other tool and method, its implementation requires a clear plan to produce the desired results.

This article will guide you through the process of creating and implementing an effective automated testing plan, allowing you to optimize your product and ensure that your testing efforts are worthwhile.

What is an automation test plan?

A test automation plan outlines the scope, goals, objectives, resource planning, estimates, and responsibilities of each team member. It also includes potential risks and a contingency plan.

Do you need an automation test plan?

As Mikhail Chigorin once said: “Even a bad plan is better than no plan at all.” So yes, a test automation plan is important.

A well-designed test automation plan can justify the automation implementation. The program not only provides stakeholders with a clear and comprehensive approach to automation, but also ensures that automation is measurable and traceable. Finally, by outlining the goals and objectives of the automation, the plan gives direction to the testing process and helps demonstrate the ROI associated with the automation.

A step-by-step guide to creating an automated test plan

Having covered the basics of test automation planning, it’s time to dive into the details of test planning. The steps outlined in this section are universally applicable, regardless of project type or size.

1. Targeted

This section defines the intended goals of the automation test plan document and defines stakeholder expectations for the scope of the document.

2. Project overview

This section provides a high-level overview of the project to stakeholders, giving them a better understanding of the project and how the automation plan fits into it.

3. Assumptions

This section aims to identify all assumptions made during the automation planning process that may affect the successful execution of the automation test plan. By addressing potential assumptions and their consequences, this section ensures that the automation process runs smoothly and efficiently.

4. Return on Investment (ROI)

Not every test scenario can or should be automated.

In this section, we need to demonstrate how the investment will provide a substantial return to convince stakeholders of the importance of automation. This includes highlighting how an automation project will enhance the product life cycle and comparing the benefits of automation to manual testing.

There are several ways to measure ROI on test automation. The most basic method of measuring ROI involves calculating the time saved by running a certain number of automated tests over a given period of time, as opposed to manual tests.

ROI=: (Profit from investment cost of investment)Investment cost x 100

It is extremely important to remember that the above calculation is simplified and may require the inclusion of additional parameters to increase its accuracy. These factors may include the time spent maintaining and updating automated tests, the time saved by avoiding errors, or the benefits of implementing large-scale tests through automation.

5. Automation plan

This section shows what processes to automate and how to schedule them. The following elements should be considered in this section:

  • Out-of-frame objects/out-of-frame elements. When defining the scope of your test automation project, it’s important to specify which elements will be included (in-scope) and which will not (out-of-scope). It’s unrealistic to automate every aspect of testing, so it’s important to define the limits of your automation efforts within this topic.
  • Test automation coverage type: This step involves specifying the type of test automation you intend to use, such as integration testing or regression testing, and how it will fit into the overall project testing cycle.
  • Automation tools for each test layer. When starting a test automation project, you should research and compare different technologies to determine the best fit for your test automation layers.
  • Evaluation techniques. You must decide which evaluation technique is most appropriate for the goals and objectives of your project. You can also use the same techniques as your overall project management approach if compatible with your automation project, such as t-shirt sizing or poker planning.

6. Automation design

In this section, you’ll dive deeper into designing your automation. Whether you use a commercial tool or an in-house framework, the technical design must be carefully evaluated to ensure that the framework remains scalable and maintainable throughout its lifecycle.

The absence of a technical design document can lead to:

  • Failure to follow best coding practices
  • Monolithic application / unstructured modules
  • Poor code reusability
  • Insufficient function level modularity
  • Lack of a separate test phase of the automation framework
  • Improper forms of design

7. Implementation of automation

This section details the implementation of test case generation and execution automation. Considerations emphasized in this section include:

  • An approach to implementing project-level automation
  • A branching strategy for automation code and test case management
  • Test data management
  • Managing the test environment

8. Defect Management

The main purpose of automation is to ensure product quality and detect defects as they occur in the code. Thus, defining a process for detecting and reporting automation defects in a defect management tool is vital.

Defect life cycle

Below is a description of the various states that a defect can be in during its life cycle

Defective condition Description:

Once a defect is discovered, it is logged in the defect management tool with an open status.


After developers recognize a defect, its status is updated to “accepted” or “assigned”.


The defect is resolved by the developers and returned to the tester for verification.

Check again

After the defect remediation and reporting process is complete, the testing team conducts a review to ensure that the defects have been successfully remedied.

close When the testing team verifies that the defect is resolved, the defect status is updated to “closed”.

When the developer fixes the defect but the test fails, the tester will reopen the defect.


When a reporter removes a flaw because it turns out not to be a real problem


The developer rejects the defect as invalid


The defect is considered valid but is deferred to future releases due to low priority

9. Test Automation Report

To provide a clear and informative reporting of automation execution, the framework design should include details of test cases executed, validations performed and pass/fail results.

A comprehensive test report usually includes:

  • Information about the project. name and description of the project
  • Purpose of the Test: Purpose and Types of Test
  • Summary of the test. test case execution states
  • Deficiency report. description, status, severity and priority of the defect management process

10. Test Automation Maintenance

Maintaining the automation framework includes the following activities:

  • Increased framework flexibility and scalability
  • Code refactoring
  • Improved wait handling and error logging
  • Integrating new functionality into the framework for additional use cases and test cases


A well-defined automation testing plan is critical to successful software development projects. In addition to demonstrating ROI, an automation test plan provides a clear approach to effectively measuring and implementing automation.

However, developing an automation test plan can be a daunting task that requires careful planning and hard work to ensure positive results. If you need professional help navigating the process, our team of experts with over 12 years of experience are ready to guide you through it.

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