When planning for product testing, it is important to have a well written Test Plan. It is not enough to have a list of Test Standards (ASTM, MIL, IEC, ISO, etc.). A Test Standard is a simply a general guide covering a wide range of products, components, & features. A Test Plan is created by applying the guidelines and conditions in the Test Standard to the product or material to be tested. A Test Plan is critical for many reasons:

Test Standard:

  1. General test parameters
  2. Environmental conditions during testing
  3. Sample pre-conditioning requirements
  4. Required specifications for the test equipment.

Test Plan: A test plan is critical to determining time and resource requirements for testing.

  1. A Test Plan identifies which tests in the standard are applicable to your products.
  2. A Test Plan identifies model specific test parameters based on the product’s features, physical characteristics, ratings and specifications.
  3. A Test Plan identifies which models and options within a product family should be tested.
  4. A Test Plan defines the test method for the specific product being tested.

Questions Answered by a Test Plan:

Without a Test Plan: Planning for tests without having a test plan leads to many problems

Surprises Found When Creating a Test Plan: One of the purposes of creating a Test Plan is to identify and eliminate surprises during testing, surprises that cause cost increases and project delays. If you want to avoid these disasters during testing, you need to prepare a Test Plan.

Examples of hidden surprises:

Benefits of Having a Test Plan:

  1. ‍Control costs by removing the "what ifs" that cause test labs to include a lot of "just in case" costs into a quotation.
  2. Receive reliable cost estimates from your test lab and the ability to stay on budget – eliminate cost increases due to lack of information during quoting.
  3. Properly prepare for testing, which prevents delays during testing – sample prep, test loads, custom software for operating the system during testing, identify pass/fail criteria, etc.
  4. Have confidence in proceeding with expensive testing. Clearly understand the full test parameters and the pass/fail criteria for each test. Review the anticipated results to insure your product is designed to pass the tests.
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