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Create and maintain your test plans

When you’ve created your test plans before your upgrade—preferably during development or implementation—it will help standardize the process, reduce your testing time, and shorten the overall upgrade project. Using tools like Test Management and Automated Test Framework will help.

Key insights

  • Create test plans during development so they stay current.
  • Use automated test tools where applicable to greatly reduce testing time.
  • Avoid moving updates between different instances on different releases.


Configuration Item

A CI is one of the most important components of your CMDB. It’s simply an application, infrastructure, or service component you’re managing. It can be a physical server, an app running on a virtual server, or a business service.

You know that you need to do some level of testing before deploying new software, but you might not have a plan. The best way to start is asking yourself “What do I need to test, and how do I keep track of it?”

You only need to test what you’ve previously deployed. If your organization is using ITSM only, there’s no point in testing ITOM applications like Discovery, Service Mapping, and Event Management. The best practice is to create the test plan(s) as you configure and customize your applications, but if you deployed in a hurry, you may not have test plans. If that’s you, then make sure to create and test your test plans before you upgrade.

You can build and maintain test plans in a variety of ways from paper to Excel to purpose‑built applications. ServiceNow offers two solutions to help you with your testing—one for manual testing and one for automated testing. Both are provided at no additional cost.

Manual testing with ServiceNow Test Management

With manual testing, you give someone a list of instructions to follow with expected results, and they document whether they got the expected results. Pretty simple, right? The ServiceNow Test Management application (shown in Figure 5) makes this even easier. If your instance doesn’t include the Test Management menu, our product document on activating a plugin can help. The name of the plugin to activate from the list is Test Management (com.snc.test_mgmt).

Figure 6: Test Management menu

The ServiceNow Test Management application provides a tool for manual software testing.

Test managers can use this application to manage all phases of the testing process. They can:

  • Create and maintain the test repository by creating test suites, test cases, and tests
  • Enable test execution by creating test plans, adding test cases, and assigning testers to test cases
  • Initiate the testing process and monitor its progress
  • Evaluate test results and complete the test plan sign‑off form
  • View testing reports on the Test Management dashboard

Testers can use this application to:

  • Perform tests and record test results
  • Update test case status
  • Report defects and retest as necessary
Expert Tip


Customers with great test plans create clear instructions for their tests. Assume your testers know nothing about the software or process they are testing.

Each of your tests should include:

  • Clear, step‑by‑step, instructions to perform the test
  • Expected results
  • Input for actual results
  • Input for any error messages
  • Input for screen shots

Time estimate to complete: Eight or more hours depending on which ServiceNow applications you have configured and deployed and to what depth you test your applications.

During test remediation, do not move update sets between instances with different versions. For example, if you’ve only upgraded dev but not test, don’t deploy from dev to test until after you upgrade test.

If you have a sandbox instance, consider cloning your production instance back to sandbox after you upgrade your dev instance to the target release and before you upgrade production. You can use this as a dev instance for emergency changes to production on the legacy release while your upgrade to the target release continues.

You may want to spend a little more to purchase additional instances that allow development to continue while upgrades and testing are underway (see Figure 7). This allows development to continue on the legacy release while the upgrade is in process and avoids the conflict of publishing from a newer release back to an older release before the upgrade is complete.

Figure 7: Dual stack to enable continuous development during upgrades

Time estimate to complete: It takes 10 minutes to activate the Test Management plugin.

Automated tests with ATF

With the Automated Test Framework (ATF), you create and run automated functional tests on your ServiceNow instance. When you upgrade or modify an instance, simply run your tests to confirm that the instance still works as designed.

The beauty of ATF is that it is automated. With a single click, you run an entire suite of tests and, in moments, analyze the results to determine if remediation is required. You can use the same tests again for your next release or upgrade if you keep the tests in sync with the configurations and customizations they test.

Expert Tip



Update your test plans when you make configurations and customizations to your applications!

ATF is functional testing that allows actions such as creating records, setting field values, checking results of field values, and so on. If a test fails, it simply indicates that the result doesn’t meet the test you provided, not where the underlying problem may be—this is very similar to what a human would do with instructions, only much faster.

Search for Automated Test Framework in the application menu to find ATF.

Figure 8: Automated Test Framework menu

“As you test, prioritize your issue list and review it frequently to ensure your developers are working on the right things.” – Gabriela Pospis, Senior QA IT Manager

Time estimate to complete: Testing with ATF takes eight or more hours depending on which ServiceNow applications you have configured and deployed and to what depth you test your applications.

Tools and resources

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