By John Morrison on Feb 03, 2008
I recently received a query from a friend about Test Strategy and asking to shed some light on this topic. Whilst there is no dearth of information on this subject, sometimes you can end up with too much information and my good friend was keen to have a brief summary of the topic. Well, considering that its been a while since i've posted anything in the QA & Testing section, I thought, this reply to my friend could serve as fodder for a blog entry (what was that about two birds and a stone ...). Without much ado, here's what i intend to tell my friend.
The Test Strategy :
Is also referred to as Test Approach and is basically a plan of action. You could also call it a road map or blueprint that seeks to provide direction to your test efforts and tries to clarify how Testing will be performed; put another way, the Test Strategy communicates how you will go about achieving your Testing goals.
Some of the areas that the Test Strategy clarifies may include, the types of Testing to be performed, the resources needed, characteristics of resources required (e.g. in case of human resources, the skills needed, experience, etc.), dependencies and environmental needs for testing, the configurations / scenarios / matrix to be tested, the when of Testing (time lines & schedules), criteria for measuring success of testing, other prerequisites for testing, scope / extent / boundaries of testing, any tools needed, defect tracking / management, any risks perceived / analysis, any other items as may be needed / apt for your specific product / project.
Developing a Test Strategy involves asking a lot of questions and communicating with various stakeholders as you piece together the elements of your specific plan. One of the positive outcomes of this exercise is gaining a better understanding of stakeholder expectations from Testing and helping avoid expectation mis-match.
An obvious attribute of a Test strategy is that its not etched in stone, meaning it can and most likely will undergo changes / updates. You start developing your strategy with the best information available at a given point of time. Of course you can wait until you have all the information you need but it just might be too late to be planning. Start with what you have and try to get at least the high level pieces together. You can add the details as you move ahead and gain more information.
As Charles de Gaulle said, “You have to be fast on your feet and adaptive or else a strategy is useless."