An outline for documenting how the hardware and/or software in a system will be integrated before system test. Great for making sure the integration steps have been thought through (rather than defining an amorphous block of time for integration then hoping everything comes out at the end!)
What this is
Outline for a plan for integration testing, in this case integration containing hardware and software. This outline is easily adaptable to a software-only integration plan.
Why it's useful
Helps the technical team think through the logical sequence of integration activities, so that their individual detailed development plans are well synchronized and integration happens in a reasonable (not helter-skelter!) manner. Helps the project manager plan for equipment and lab availability. Elements such as Completion Criteria help ensure that the test results are reviewed and understood and a quality product is handed off to system-level testing. (Highly buggy stuff given to the system test group is a sure way to delay the project).
How to use it
Create a draft of the plan very early in the execution phase (by this time you'll know from the high-level design work in the Initiation phase what major pieces of hardware and/or software will have to be integrated. An early look at integration sequencing will help you sanity check the amount of time you've put into the schedule for integration testing.) The plan can be refined as appropriate as the detailed designs are completed.
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