Question: for those of you who create Test Plans based on product area rather than per iteration, why? And for those of you who create new, fresh Test Plans based on your release cycle (iteration / sprint, whatever), why? Is choosing one over the other a no-brainer (e.g.an Agile shop should choose new test plans per sprint/iteration?)?

Background: I'm hoping for some guidance on how to organize Test Plans. I'm using Microsoft Test Manager. All I have found is this:

'You might want to create a test plan for each sprint if you are using an agile methodology"


Or, you might create a test plan for each specific milestone if you are using another approach.

Also, this source claims that:

...it is better to create test plans based on your testing goals for specific iterations or milestones

It seems so simple...if you're an Agile shop you should create a Test Plan for each sprint (or iteration) like Microsoft suggests...rather than creating a Test Plan for say, each product area or sub category, and then updating those existing test plans every time the code has an update. However..I get mixed guidance elsewhere. For example: "Software Testing with Visual Studio® 2010" suggests per-iteration. Another book, "Software Testing using Visual Studio 2010", shows an example of per-product area.

I'm sort of a Test noob. I am going to try really hard to get this right the first time

2 Answers 2


I use Microsoft Test Manager and find that I center my test plans around releases. It might be helpful to have a separate Regression Test Plan with suites set up by product area that can be updated as code updates and so new test cases can be added as new features are implemented in existing product areas (or new product areas are added). There is some guidance out there that would suggest that regression suites should also be release/iteration specific so that organizations who are moving ahead with the product, but may need to hotfix an old release, can use the regression suite from that release to test the product. I tend to use this route and bulk copy my test cases since MTM/Visual Studio doesn't allow for versioning of test cases.

I don't believe there is a "right" way to do this all the time. I think it will depend on what works for the way your team/organization develops software and conducts testing. I think it is important to get started with the best guidance out there and you'll tweak it as you go along.


MTM/TFS now supports cloning so that helps with versioning test artifacts (test plan, test suite & test cases) from Regression Test Management perspective.

See https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudioalm/2013/05/03/cloning-test-plans-using-microsoft-test-manager/

Additional detailed guidance (current as of 2015) is at Visual Studio ALM Rangers "Test Planning and Management Guide" https://vsartestreleaseguide.codeplex.com/

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