The planning stage of any project can be critical to guiding teams down the right path and achieving the expected outcome. As a subset of the overall test plan, a test strategy is important for defining the software testing approach based on business requirements, the testing lifecycle and standards for testing processes. However, when it comes to creating this type of document, many organizations are unsure where they should start and how to determine if their strategy will be successful. Here are a few things to consider when designing a test strategy:
Your Unique Factors
Every business and project is different, so it's safe to assume that each strategy must also encapsulate these unique characteristics. ISTQB noted that quality assurance teams need to assess their skills, objectives, risks, regulations, business and product in order to create a strategy that fully meets user requirements from every angle. While these categories should be the staple of a test strategy, the answers will indicate what organizations should expect throughout their testing efforts, even as trends shift.
Defining specific considerations will also insight regarding what types of strategies will be best to utilize for a project. Perhaps an organization would be better off using an analytical strategy over a model-based one, or maybe a dynamic one would be more successful. It all depends on a team's unique factors and how they address each necessary category within their test strategy.
"Testing must satisfy the needs and requirements of stakeholders to be successful," ISTQB stated. "If the objective is to find as many defects as possible with a minimal amount of up-front time and effort invested – for example, at a typical independent test lab – then a dynamic strategy makes sense."
Unlike a test plan which focuses on overall project parameters, a test strategy should only be concerned with the act of testing itself. According to industry expert Inder Singh, this means using the strategy to satisfy test objectives alone, consider how many test phases will be needed, define the required test environment and identify what type of data will be leveraged to measure progress. Software testing metrics can be a critical component in a test strategy as they can contribute to entry and exit criteria as well as shine a light on which areas need more attention.
"Challenge all assumptions while you design your test strategy. Provide safeguards if any of the prior assumptions prove incorrect later," Singh wrote. "Finally, remember that a powerful strategy is never static. Monitor the results obtained from the test strategy and do not hesitate in making the desired modifications to your test strategy."
A test strategy will look different for each team, but in order to design a successful document, it must consider its unique factors and focus on test objectives. By creating a test strategy, organizations can boost their test management capabilities and have a plan in place to act quickly if a threat emerges. By addressing these categories, QA will be able to draw up a test strategy for their specific needs and ensure that they are prepared for any potential issues down the road.