The Instructions portion of test setup can make the difference between a good and a great test cycle!
First, you need to state the Goal of the test.
This section should be the guiding star for testers. Think about the desired results of the test and what information the testers need in order to discover these types of issues. Common examples include release of a new feature, a sanity test for “critical functional issues only,” and changes to a common workflow.
It’s also common to include a brief description of your company and product so the tester has some context of the software they’re testing. In other words, keep in mind that test instructions is the only way for you to communicate your needs and expectations to a crowd of testers who might have never had experience with your site/platform/app before.
Second, you state what/if any functionalities are Out of scope. This section should explicitly state any features or functionality out of scope for this test. It’s common to:
State undesired functional severities or bug types in this sections
Inform testers not to take particular steps in the flow (make final purchases, contact support, send out applications etc.)
Share known issues in a given Feature
Next, you state any Additional requirements. This section should be used to provide any additional information the tester should know to achieve the desired results. Examples include:
Test payment information
Any special requirements to the environment access/bug report format/device usage/access settings
Lastly, we can include any attachments necessary for this test cycle (i.e. Excel documents, mockups of data sets, Invision documents, screenshots of what a Feature should do, etc.).
Note: For more examples of what could fit under the above sections, check out the test sample setups listed in the below section, "Test Setup Examples and Walkthroughs."