The test plan focuses on how the testing for the project will proceed, which units will be tested and what approaches (and tools) are to be used during the various stages of testing. However it does not deals with details of testing a unit nor does it specify which test case are to be used.
Test case specification has to be done separately for each unit. Based on the approach specified in the test plan first the feature to be tested for this unit must be determined. The overall approach stated in the plan is refined into specific test techniques that should be followed and into the criteria to be used for evaluation. Based on these the test cases are specified for testing unit.
The two basic reasons test cases are specified before they are used for testing. It is known that testing has severe limitations and the effectiveness of testing depends very heavily on the exact nature of the test case. Even for a given criterion the exact nature of the test cases affects the effectiveness of testing.
Constructing good test case that will reveal errors in programs is still a very creative activity that depends a great deal on the tester. Clearly it is important to ensure that the set of test cases used is of high quality. As with many other verification methods evaluation of quality of test case is done through “test case review” And for any review a formal document or work product is needed. This is the primary reason for having the test case specification in the form of a document.