Create test plans and test suites

Azure Test Plans | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015

Create test plans and test suites for your teams to use to track manual testing for sprints or milestones. That way, you can see when the testing for a specific sprint or milestone is complete. For more information about manual testing, see Planned manual testing and Automated and Manual Testing with Azure Test Plans.

What are test plans, test suites, and test cases?

Azure Test Plans or the Test hub in TFS (see Web portal navigation) provides three main types of test management artifact: test plans, test suites, and test cases. These are stored in your work repository as special types of work items, allowing you to export and share them with your team, and benefit from close integration for all of your DevOps tasks.

  • Test plans are used to group together test suites and individual test cases. This includes static test suites, requirement-based suites, and query-based suites.

  • Test suites are used to group test cases into separate testing scenarios within a single test plan. This makes it easier to see which scenarios are complete.

  • Test cases are used to validate individual parts of your code or app deployment to ensure it performs correctly, has no errors, and meets business and customer requirements. You can add individual test cases to a test plan without creating a test suite if you wish. Test cases can be referenced in more than one test suite and test plan, meaning you can effectively reuse them without needing to copy or clone them for each suite or plan. See Create manual test cases.

For example:

You are building version 1.* of your product and you might create several test cases for that version. Each of these test cases can be updated, and more added, at any time. For each development cycle and release of your product you create a test plan (a unit of execution) and import the existing test cases into that plan. You can also, if you wish, divide the test cases into separate test suites within the plan to enable easier management and monitoring of these separate sets of test cases.

After you create your test plan, you assign test configurations and assign testers to cover the required test matrix. These testers execute the tests to gauge the quality of the product, and continue testing until the required exit criteria is met. For the next development cycle and release, you can create a new test plan and reuse the same test cases. You repeat this development-test-release cycle by importing the same test cases into each new test plan.

The great thing is that, because the test cases are referenced in the test plans, updates to a test case are automatically reflected in all the test plans and test suites that use it.

Then, in the next version of the product, you can reuse the existing test cases. However, a better option may be to copy or clone the test cases to create a new baseline, where changes to these new test cases do not affect those referenced in test plans for the previous version of the product.

For more details of the ways you can work with test plans, test suites, and test cases, see the FAQs for manual testing.

To use all the features described in this topic you must have either an Enterprise, Test Professional, or MSDN Platforms subscription; or have installed the Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans available from Visual Studio Marketplace. See Manual testing permissions and access.


To manage test artifacts, you must have the correct permissions and access level.

Manage test artifacts permissions

You must be a member of the Project Administrators group or have Manage Test Plans and Manage Test Suites permissions.

Access level

To create and edit a test artifact (Test plan, Test suite, Test case, Test configuration, shared step, or shared parameter) you must have your access level set to Advanced.

To create and edit a test artifact (Test plan, Test suite, Test case, Test configuration, shared step, or shared parameter) you must have one of the following access levels:


Stakeholders cannot create or manage test cases. You must have at least Basic access. See Default manual testing permissions and access.

Create a test plan

  1. If you want to use Azure DevOps, and haven't done so already, sign up for Azure DevOps, create your project, and create your backlog.

  2. In Azure DevOps or TFS, open your project and go to Azure Test Plans or the Test hub in TFS (see Web portal navigation). If you already have a test plan, choose the Test Plans breadcrumb to go to the page that lists all test plans.

    Opening the list of test plans page

  3. In the Test Plans list page, choose + New Test Plan to create a test plan for your current sprint.

    Creating a new test plan

  4. In the New Test Plan dialog, enter a name for the test plan. Check the area path and iteration are set as you require. Then choose Create.

    Adding test plan details

You can also create a test plan and a test suite automatically when you create a test from a User Story work item in Azure Boards or TFS. Open the shortcut menu for the work item and choose Add test.

Add a requirement-based test suite and select backlog items to test

  1. Now add test suites for the backlog items that need manual tests (these could be user stories, requirements, or other work items based on the setup of your project). To add a suite to a test plan, open the + (New) list and chose the type of suite you require.

    Creating a requirement-based test suite

    You use requirement-based suites to group your test cases together. That way, you can track the testing status of a backlog item. Each test case that you add to a requirement-based test suite is automatically linked to the backlog item.

  2. In the Create requirement-based suites dialog, add one or more clauses to filter your work items by the iteration path for the sprint. Run the query to view the matching backlog items.

    Adding clauses to filter by iteration and running the query to view results

  3. In the list of work items returned by the query, select the backlog items you want to test in this sprint. Choose Create suites to create a requirement-based suite for each one.

    Adding requirement-based suites for your backlog items

Find a test case in a test plan

  • In the Test Plans page for your test plan, use the filter-icon filter icon (1) to show the search and filter lists (2) that help you find the tests you want to work with. Or filter the list of tests using the Outcome, Tester, and Configuration drop-downs (3).

    Finding a test plan

See also

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