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Test Strategy Document


Managing and preparing a strategy before executing the process of testing is a beneficial activity that should be practised by all software engineers. By doing so, team of testers can decide a single method, technique, and approach of testing, while keeping a track of client’s requirements and specifications. Test Strategy Document, which is a document prepared by the project lead before the commencement of the project, is an essential document that makes sure all requirements of the client is met, without any hindrance. To inform you more about test strategy document, here is a detailed description of the same.

What is Test Strategy?

To simplify the process of testing a software application, team of testers plan a test strategy, which defines the testing approach that will be used to test the software. In test strategy, the targets are set by the team regarding what needs to be accomplished and how it will be accomplished. It consists a description of all the test cases and data that will be required for testing. Moreover, test strategy is a guideline to be followed to achieve the test objective and execution of test types mentioned in the testing plan. It is one of the most important documents for Quality Assurance (QA) team and writing it effectively is a skill every tester should achieve in their career. In short, test strategy covers following aspects of a software:

Defining Test Strategy Document:

Test Strategy Document is developed by the Project Manager in the early stages of software development and is maintained throughout the process. Test Strategy Document is a high level document that is immensely important to the QA team. This document defines the software testing approach that is used to achieve testing objectives and is generally derived from the Business Requirement Specification Document.

As it sets the standards for testing process and other activities, the test strategy document remains a static document and no frequent and unnecessary modifications are made in it throughout the development process, because frequently changing plan affects the quality of the testing and makes it difficult to follow a particular plan. Hence, whenever small requirements are needed to be changed during the development process, they are usually updated in the test plan, which allows the test strategy to remain the same.

Features of Test Strategy Document:

The importance of test strategy document is immense in software development life cycle (SDLC), as it defines what will be tested, who will perform the testing, how will it be managed, and what risks and contingencies are associated with it. Additional features of test strategy document are:

  • This document is completed and used by the project test team to guide how testing will be managed.
  • It is reviewed and approved by the QA manager, test team lead, product manager, and development manager.
  • With the assistance of this document, the team effortlessly achieves the goals of testing, while adopting the best practices.
  • Test Strategy Document is mainly derived from the Business Requirements Specifications.
  • It defines the scope, approach, resources, & schedule for testing activities.
  • It is a high level document that mostly remains static, i.e., no frequent and unnecessary changes are made in the document.

Components of Test Strategy Document:

The Test Strategy Document is created in the project’s Requirements Definition phase, after the requirements have been specified. It describes the scope, approach, resources and schedule for the testing activities of the project. Furthermore, it defines what will be tested, who will perform testing, how testing will be managed, and the associated risks and contingencies. As per IEEE Software Engineering Standards, a test strategy document should consist following components.

  1. Scope and Overview:
  2. The project overview along with information on who should approve, review and use the document is included. The phases of the project are defined in accordance with timelines specified in the test plan. Testing activities and phases that are required to be carried out are also defined in the testing strategy document.

  3. Testing Approach:
  4. Defines testing process, level of testing, roles and responsibilities of every team member. For every type of test defined in test plan (e.g. unit, integration, system, regression, installation/uninstallation, usability, load, performance, and security testing) there is a description of why it should be conducted along with the details like when to start, test owner, responsibilities, testing approach and details of automation strategy and tool if applicable. The change management process is also defined, which includes change request submission, template to be used, and process to handle the request. Most importantly, these should be developed properly, as they can lead to error or mistakes in future if not documented accurately.

  5. Testing Environment Specifications:
  6. The information regarding the number of environment and the setup required for each of these environment is provided. Defining test data requirements is extremely important, therefore clear instructions on how to prepare test data are included in this set of test strategy document. Backup and restore strategy is also provided, which ensures that there is no loss of any data due to code issues.

  7. Testing Tools :
  8. Provides comprehensive information about the test management and automation tools that are required for test execution. For performance, load and security test, the required approaches and tools are described along with the details of open source or commercial tool and the number of users that can be supported by it.

  9. Release Control:
  10. To ensure proper and successful test execution, release management plan should be created thoroughly. Furthermore, by setting up build management process, one can get information on when, where and how the new build should be made available and deployed.

  11. Risk Analysis:
  12. All possible risks related to the project that can become a hurdle in test execution are defined in test strategy document. In addition to listing these risks, a clear plan is also created to ensure that they are tackled appropriately. A contingency plan is also developed in case these risks are encountered by the development team in reality.

  13. Review and Approvals:
  14. Once all the activities are defined in test strategy document, it is reviewed for sign-off by the people involved, such as the project management, business team, development team and system administration team. Along with the proper date, comment and approver name, the summary of the reviewed changes should be tracked since the beginning of the document. Also, it should be continuously reviewed and updated with the testing process enhancements.

Test Strategy Document Template:

To ensure the accuracy of the testing process, it is important for the project lead to prepare a detailed and unerring test strategy document that effectively narrates important components of the process and offers individual member necessary information. This accuracy of the test strategy document can be validated with the assistance of the following template, which is universally recognized.

  1. Test Strategy ID: This is a unique identifier of the test strategy document and its various versions, which is allocated to the document by the organization responsible for developing and testing the software.
  2. Introduction: Once, a unique id is allocated to the document, the project lead moves on to defining the purpose and scope of the document, along with a few details about the testing process.
  3. Standards to Use: Here, the different standards for testing and the set of guidelines to be followed are addressed by the lead.
  4. Risks & Mitigation: An extremely important part of the document, here various possible risks and issues associated with the process of testing are identified and defined, along with their mitigation strategies.
  5. Entry Criteria: In this section of the document, the prerequisites required to be performed before testing can start are mentioned.
  6. Exit Criteria: It defines the various activities that need to be completed before the process of testing can be culminated. In short, this is the criteria that indicates when testing can be stopped.
  7. Test Design Techniques: Here, the techniques used for test design are defined by the team, such as decision table testing, equivalence class partitioning, boundary value analysis, use case testing, among others.
  8. Test Environment: The document also includes information about the test environment specifications, such as hardware and software requirements, network, device compatibility, test server, etc.
  9. Configuration Management of Testware: Another important detail offered by the document is the specifications of the right tools, equipments, and other testware required for the process of testing.
  10. Test Process Improvement: To enhance the quality of testing, various approaches are used by the team that work to improve the process of testing and increases its effectiveness.
  11. Approvals: Finally, the test strategy document is reviewed and approved by the authorized person, which further increase the credibility of the process as well as the document.

Things to Consider While Preparing Test Strategy Document:

As the test plan and the process of testing are highly dependent on test strategy document, it is important for the lead to inculcate all the necessary details in the document, while considering various factors about the testing. Therefore, following are some of the things that needs consideration, while preparing test strategy document.

  • Before preparing the document evaluate the Business Requirement Specification document precisely.
  • Assess the various requirements of the client and the end users to adopt the best practices that ensure accuracy of the project.
  • Avoid making constant changes in the report as it can impact the process of testing, which will further affect the product’s performance and functionality.
  • All important changes should be mentioned in the test plan.
  • The details and information included in the software should be presented in an comprehensive and understandable manner.
  • The team should assess the testware, such as tools and equipments thoroughly before using them for the process of testing.

Conclusion:

The Test Strategy Document is a reflection of all the activities performed by the Quality Assurance (QA) Team during the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). With the assistance of this document, the process of software testing is monitored by all the stakeholders of the project. It includes details about all the important components of software testing, such as, the test environment, risk analysis of the project, tools used for testing, and more. Hence, software release goes through Test Strategy Documents time to time, which maps the progress of testing in the right direction.