Plan Your Test Strategy
Application testing should always begin with a little planning. Take a closer look at what planning a test strategy entails.
A test strategy document includes the testing approach of your development lifecycle. Various stakeholders of the test strategy include the project managers, testers and developers. The strategy lists out some of the primary issues to be considered for the testing process.
At the minimum, the test strategy includes
- Objectives of the test process
- Approaches for testing new functionalities
- Regression test approaches
- Test environments
- Risk analysis and mitigation plans
Test Plan vs. Test Strategy
When talking to development teams, we see a lot of confusion between a test plan and test strategy. A test plan document is considered as somewhat superset of the strategy document. Usually a test strategy goes as an addendum to the test plan document or atleast referred from it when maintained as a separate document. Various teams/organizations follow their own processes for maintaining these documents.
A test plan defines the project scope and focus of testing. The document is more granular than a strategy document and deals with issues like test coverage, features that need to be tested or ignored, estimation of effort and time.
A test strategy focuses on the approach for attaining the test objectives, various test types and environments, tools & techniques, automation requirements, risk analysis and mitigation plans.
Do we Need a Strategy Document?
The short answer is: it depends. We do not create a blueprint when building a dog-house. At the same time we do not even think of building a house without a blueprint. Whether we need a test strategy document and how much detail the document should have depends on the type of project our team is handling.
As a thumb rule, consider creating a test strategy/approach document for any project that has a long life and that is delivered to external customers. If the project size is small or medium (the team has less than 3 designated testers) include the test approach as an appendix into the test plan document itself. If the project is large, you should consider creating a separate document and refer to it from your test plan.
Developing a Good Test Strategy Document
Each project is different and so should be your test strategy document. Do not just blindly follow an available template or use an existing document. Review each of the sections to check whether they are valid in the current project context.
Some Tips for Writing a Strategy Document
Sections of a Test Strategy Document
The following is a list of sections that typically exists in a test strategy document. Like mentioned earlier, each project is different. Some sections may not be needed in your document and some extra sections may be needed. This is not a comprehensive list – keep that in mind if you like to use this structure.
Some Concluding Remarks
Test Strategy is not just a document. It embodies the wisdom required for executing a successful test process. Refer to the document while the development is taking place. Ensure that all the stakeholders are aware of its existence and they can access it easily.
In most cases the test strategy document is static. Once it is created it is not modified till the completion of the project. However, there are times when you need to modify the same. For example, your test environment might have changed. Or you find that the test tool is restrictive. In those cases, modify the document and ensure that all the stakeholders are consulted and made aware of the changes.
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