What Is a Good Test Strategy? Rikard Edgren

To me, a test strategy is about “what to test and how” and “ideas that guide testing towards the testing missions“.

It is an ongoing process, not necessarily a document, and important for the results of the test effort.
A good test strategy should be unique for the situation, but there are som general properties I try to reach:

  • specific – details rather than fluff
  • practical – possible to execute with “normal” turbulence
  • justified – reaches the testing missions
  • diverse – important systems needs to be tested in many different ways
  • resource efficient – uses available resources without (too much) waste
  • reviewable – possible to understand and review, so it focus on right things
  • anchored – in management, in testers
  • changeable – to be able to deal with the unevitable unknown
  • erroneous – if it isn’t “incorrect”, it is too vague, or took too long time to write

In the real world, I believe the “reviewable” part is very rare, which also means it probably isn’t anchored.

Reference: James Bach, Test Strategy (includes the 3 first properties above, and a very good example)

6 Comments
Andrei Contan September 11th, 2013

Very often I’ve seen that a Test Strategy is followed by a Test Plan. In this case, the 2 questions are split between the documents. the TStrategy answer the How and the TPlan will answer the What.

Also I think it’s important to consider the project phase in which you deliver these 2 documents as in some of the cases, the Test Strategy is expected to be ready in the design phase of the project, or even earlier (Bid process)

Roland Stens September 11th, 2013

That sounds more like a test plan.
I consider the strategy a more of answering why you need to do what type of testing.
Then you start to consider what and how.

Granted a bit of a grey area in between.

Rikard Edgren September 12th, 2013

Andrei:
Yes, sometimes the strategy is only the how, and separated from the what.
This is very unfortunate, and probably a cause for content-free strategies.
The “how” is answered at a very high-level summary, the “what” is a list of functionality.
I believe the core testing decisions and smart strategies emerge from the combination of what and how.

Roland:
The “why” to me is the testing missions (that strategies aim to reach.)
A test plan is test strategy + logistics.
In IEEE terms, what I view as the strategy is the Approach section.
It’s in the grey area the good things happen!

Neeraj Vijay September 16th, 2013

In strategy we don’t tell what. But usually Strategy reveals why and how we can achieve the goal.On the other way Test plan, we can tell what and the various ways to achieve the what. i.e. ultimate goal Quality.

I have seen people sometime use the content of Test Strategy & Test plan interchangeably and that ‘s never been the right things. Focus on why should be clear on strategy rather than plan.

Rikard Edgren September 25th, 2013

It is interesting how these words can mean different things (that’s why new situations reqiuire “What do you mean with…” questions.

To me, the why is the testing mission (seldom elaborated…)
And as I see it, a separation of what and how makes each of them quite harmless.

[…] a good test strategy for you? Rikard Edgren: Good question where I have one short answer published here – a good test strategy is specific, practical, justified, diverse, resource efficient, reviewable, […]