The Crucial Role of Test Strategy in Software Testing

For any given project, the choice of test approaches or Test Strategy is one of the most essential and deciding factors in the success of the test effort along with the accuracy of the test plans and estimates prepared. Wikipedia gives a definition of Test Strategy as ‘an outline that describes the testing approach of the software development cycle.’ Simply put, strategy is something that seldom allows one to follow a methodically defined process and achieve the target.


For starters, Test Strategy helps testers/testing teams define the approach to test an application. This approach is what will eventually lead to an excellent quality of the product which can be released to the end user/client. Test Strategy is expected to be ready/prepared in the design phase of the project or even earlier. This is done in order to discover any missing requirements and to define the testing scope and test coverage in a better and well organized manner. Test Strategy should not be confused with Test Plan. A test plan is derived from the Test Strategy devised. A project may have multiple Test Plans as per the project (small or big) but only one Test Strategy.

Learn more about what’s the Difference between Test Strategy vs Test Plan 


The purpose of a Test Strategy is to create an understanding of the overall targets, approach, tools and timing of test activities to be done. It should clarify the major challenges and tasks of the test project. A good Test Strategy should be easy to understand, specific to requirements, practically applicable and have achievable targets. The test team analyzes the requirements, writes the test strategy and reviews the plan with the project team.
The Test Strategy document provides a formal description of how a software product will be tested. It is developed for all levels of testing (unit, integration, system, manual, automation, performance etc.). This is done in order to eradicate any conflicts/confusion that may arise as the product moves into the next phases of its testing and release.


The main contents of a Test Strategy document include Business Goals, Quality objectives and their alignment with the business goals, Scope, Breakdown of test efforts into logical areas and sub-areas, Testing Approach and Methodologies, Test Automation Strategy, Testing Environments, Release criteria, Tools, Processes and Metrics, and Risk Mitigation techniques. Different types of Test Strategies have to be employed as per the project requirement. Commonly used Test Strategies are Analytical, Model-based, Methodical and Dynamic among others. The factors that contribute towards the selection of a type of Test Strategy should be the Objectives of testing, the Product that is under test, the Risks involved and Business perspectives. Along with these factors, the schedule, budget and feature constraints of the project and the realities of the organization and its politics should also be considered before selecting a Test Strategy. Test Strategy is also heavily dependent on the SDLC model being used for software development.

Check out some test strategy example


With the advent of Agile methodology, preparing a Test Strategy has become a challenging task for the testing team as a whole. While all sprints cannot be accounted for in a Test Strategy due to time constraints, a high-level Test Strategy provides a guideline for agile teams.  Typically this should include a Release Plan(or a Test Plan), Individual Sprints(which include estimation of the tasks, unit testing, integration testing, feature testing, manual/automation testing, and nonfunctional testing among others) and Release (which define the exit criterion for a project and final release and deployment). Most importantly, the agile Test Strategy should be prepared in such a manner that is easily adaptable to the progressive changing nature of the project.

Learn more about the Agile test strategy template


Rarely does a project succeed without a well-designed Test Strategy? The possibility of missing any test activity is very low when there is a proper Test Strategy in place. The key to a Test Strategy is to maintain flexibility in the complete process and at the same time not change the dynamics of the testing activity. This helps to achieve the highest possible quality, especially with rapidly evolving/changing environments.





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