This month’s post is courtesy of the Center for Testing Excellence.
Testing is a key part of nearly every successful project. But do you know the difference between a testing strategy and a test plan? This article provides some great detail in defining the roles of both.
A Test Strategy document is a high level document and normally developed by project manager. This document defines “Software Testing Approach” to achieve testing objectives. The Test Strategy is normally derived from the Business Requirement Specification document.
The Test Strategy document is a static document meaning that it is not updated too often. It sets the standards for testing processes and activities and other documents such as the Test Plan draws its contents from those standards set in the Test Strategy Document.
Some companies include the “Test Approach” or “Strategy” inside the Test Plan, which is fine and it is usually the case for small projects. However, for larger projects, there is one Test Strategy document and different number of Test Plans for each phase or level of testing.
Components of the Test Strategy document
- Scope and Objectives
- Business issues
- Roles and responsibilities
- Communication and status reporting
- Test deliverables
- Industry standards to follow
- Test automation and tools
- Testing measurements and metrices
- Risks and mitigation
- Defect reporting and tracking
- Change and configuration management
- Training plan
Here is an example of an Agile Test Strategy Document Template
The Test Plan document on the other hand, is derived from the Product Description, Software Requirement Specification SRS, or Use Case Documents.
The Test Plan document is usually prepared by the Test Lead or Test Manager and the focus of the document is to describe what to test, how to test, when to test and who will do what test.
It is not uncommon to have one Master Test Plan which is a common document for the test phases and each test phase have their own Test Plan documents.
There is much debate, as to whether the Test Plan document should also be a static document like the Test Strategy document mentioned above or should it be updated every often to reflect changes according to the direction of the project and activities.
My own personal view is that when a testing phase starts and the Test Manager is “controlling” the activities, the test plan should be updated to reflect any deviation from the original plan. After all, Planning and Control are continuous activities in the formal test process.
Components of the Test Plan document
- Test Plan id
- Test items
- Features to be tested
- Features not to be tested
- Test techniques
- Testing tasks
- Suspension criteria
- Features pass or fail criteria
- Test environment (Entry criteria, Exit criteria)
- Test deliverables
- Staff and training needs
This is a standard approach to prepare test plan and test strategy documents, but things can vary company-to-company.