Planning resources for acceptance testing
Jan 11

Planning resources for acceptance testing

Let’s start this article by planning resources. The goal is to give an idea about the workload of acceptance testing for you to make a realistic testing plan. Quite often there are dates already set for testing when the planning starts. At this point, you need to calculate and plan what is needed to finish acceptance testing on time.

To get the necessary resources, you have to make a resource plan that includes valid arguments for the business. If you don’t have those, you will find yourself arguing about the number of resources needed

“Every resource and date you don’t nail down, will be stolen from you. If you make the reservations too late, you will have to do the stealing. “

Effective testing time

Tester’s work day includes different activities:

  • Status meetings
  • Guidance, briefings
  • Breaks, lunch
  • Answering requests from the business
  • Social media and conversations
  • Effective testing

In Finland the average office work day is 7.5h/day. Because the other activities take a part of this time, the value I use when planning resources is 5.5h effective testing per day.

I often get asked why only 5.5 hours? But this means the actual time testers test focused, without interference. If you think the number is wrong, I suggest you examine the way you work yourself for a couple of days. Don’t make the plans too tight either. Quality testing needs quality time for testing. No long hours in the middle of the night when deadlines are crashing down on you.

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Testing time / Test cases

Test cases in acceptance testing are all different, but can usually be divided into two main categories: End-to-End test cases and testing a single function.

  • Testing a single function means one tester tests one function. entering a sales order.
  • End-to-End test case means several testers test one process. Order – Delivery – Invoicing – Accounting.

Counting resources, I usually set basic time for these, since estimating every test case is time consuming. For example: Testing a single function = 1h E2E -testing = 2.5h

Testing time for each test case of course depends on what kind of test cases you are making. If you make long test documents with several test cases, the formula for counting time for these is different.

The number of observations affects the need for resources

During testing, several different observations are logged. For example:

  • Software defects
  • Master data defects
  • Specification defects
  • Testers don’t know how to test -> user defects
  • Development ideas
  • Change requests
  • Open issues

Logging every observation, handling them, making decisions and retesting them takes about 2 – 3.5h, depending on methods used. If the processes and tools are good, the handling time is closer to 2 hours. If Excels and emails are the methods used, it takes around 3.5h. And this is only the tasks made in the client’s end. Coding and actual fixing takes always their own time.


When planning testing, observations may cause trouble: How much time and resources to budget on handling observations?

Estimating the number of defects is quite difficult. If there is history available, you can make predictions. If there’s no history, you can estimate the numbers with vendors. When I go to a new client, I use these basic formulas as a guideline for my estimate:

  • 3 observations / coding day
  • 2 observations / use case, modification
  • 15 persons testing 10 days, there are 157 observations found on average.


Based on the project’s complexity, nature and the quality of the management, I give multipliers to these estimates. For example, if there are multiple vendors and lots of integrations in a project, there will be more observations. Next calculation of the need for resources I use 157 as the number of observations. Based on this, the work load for testers is approximately 315 hours.

Counting resources

When we know the things listed below, we can make calculations of how much resources we need from the business.

  • Effective testing time per day
  • The number of test cases
  • The time used for testing each test case
  • An estimate of the observations

What’s important, is that you have a calculation that helps you prove the need for resources. Otherwise you might get into an argument about the necessity of the resources asked.

An Example:

  • Testing single functions: 210 pcs x 1h/pcs = 210h
  • E2E test cases: 120 pcs x 2.5h/pcs = 300h
  • Observations found approximately: 157 pcs x 2h/pcs = 315h
  • All together = 825h.
  • Effective testing day = 5.5 h/day We need 15 testers for 10 days.


When you make the calculations and look at the calendar, you really need to plan how the testing will go. I close my eyes and imagine the events of the testing day.

When planning new testing, you can go back to your previous plans and see how the plans were realized. Did you put too much or too little in resources the last time? Now you can specify your plan based on observations.

There are usually many projects ongoing at the same time. With good planning, you can have right resources for the strategically critical project.

Jyrki Autio

CEO of Projecttop He’s often hired to save projects that are far behind schedule, are going over budget, or aren’t meeting quality standards. He also commonly trains people in specialist and consulting companies that sell project management or software development services.