After agreeing on an appropriate and achievable set of objectives (in the mission agreement step), for a test manager, the next step would be to define the elements that will serve as motivators in the testing iteration. This activity should be performed multiple times during a testing phase in order to update the testing plan according to the actual state of the project (especially in agile driven organizations, where objectives and requirements are changed often).
How to do it?
The first phase of the resource planning process has the purpose to gain an understanding of the specific objectives of the testing process in the current iteration. In order to do this, as a test manager, you have to examine the development team’s plan for this iteration. This is done by first looking for the items with the highest priority and determining the key elements by which these items will be evaluated. To determine these items as accurately as possible, use all elements available for your analysis: Requirements, Diagram models, Use cases, Risk lists, Change request lists and so on. If some or most of these elements are not available, the experience will play a crucial role in this situation.
To be able to do an even better examination of the objectives, as a test manager you can proactively organize meetings with the development team as well as project managers, and discuss the iteration development plan in detail.
Now that you have gathered all the required information, it is time to look for clearly defined elements that can be assessed. For each of these elements, examine all the details of the work that needs to be done. At the same time, study the risk to understand what the potential impact of it and also what must be done to mitigate or to eliminate it.
After determining the risk and mitigation processes of the elements that will undergo the testing process, it is your responsibility, as a test manager, to identify the motivators for the current test effort. As you will see with many of your projects, the motivation for testing may come from various sources, which can include risk lists – discussed above, change requests, sets of requirements, use cases, UML models, etc.
The motivation sources should be analyzed with the entire team, in order to outline the test motivators for the current iteration which will lead to the next step – determining the quality risk. To better understand the importance of each motivator discussed previously, you as a test manager must consider each of these items in terms of potential quality risks and highlight in each case the likelihood of the risk being encountered and the impact that this encounter might have.