To me, testing has always been a plan-then-do activity. My chapter in How to Reduce the Cost of Software Testing (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.), outlines what it takes to be ready to test when the software is ready to be tested. Yes, it takes a lot of planning but it pays off in efficiency and enhanced ability to meet deadlines. Below are some of the activities I've performed on projects as a Business Analyst, Test Manager, Developer, Tester or UAT mentor.