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Test Strategy

How to write Test Strategy document

A Test strategy is a static document that describes how the testing activity will be done.

How to write Test Strategy document

In this blog we are going to discuss what test strategy is all about, why test strategy is required when we would require a test strategy document and finally about how to write Test strategy document

What is a Test Strategy

A Test strategy is a static document that describes how the testing activity will be done. This is like a handbook to stakeholders which describes the test approach that we undertake, how we manage risk as well as how we do testing and what all levels of testing along with entry and exit criteria of each activity. This will be a generic document that the testing team would refer to prepare their test plan for every project.

Test strategy act as a guidelines/plan at the global Organization/Business Unit level whereas Test plan will be specific to project and always we should ensure that we are not deviating from what we commit in Test strategy

Why Test Strategy is required

It gives an Organization a standard approach about how Quality is ensured in the SDLC. When there is any typical risk involved in a program, how to mitigate those risk and how can those risks be handled. When every project adopt to the same standard, quality improvement will be witnessed across the Organization and hence Test strategy is important

When do we need a Test Strategy

Below could be some of the circumstances which would require Test Strategy.

When an Organization is forming a separate QA wing

When there is a change in QA Organization from normal QA model to TCoE / QCoE where the operating model and structure is changed

When QA leadership changes who comes with different perception

When Organization is adopting different tool approach for Automation / Performance etc

Contents of Test Strategy

Below are the contents of Test Strategy document

1) Brief Introduction about programs covered in this Strategy

2) Testing Scope and Objective

3) Test Planning / Timeline

4) TEM Strategy

5) TDM Strategy

6) Performance Strategy

7) Automation Strategy

8) Release and Configuration Management

9) Test schedule, cycles, and reporting

10) Risk and Mitigation

11) Assumptions

Brief Introduction about programs covered in this Strategy

This section covers the overall scope this Test strategy is going to be covered with. Important engagement and programs which will run based on this Test strategy.

Testing Scope and Objective

This section describes the following

What will be the different levels of testing conducted like Integration, System, E2E, etc

The process of review and approval of each stage

Roles and Responsibility

Defect process and procedure till final Test sign off

Test Planning and Timeline

This section covers in-brief the following

What are the programs going to be executed

What is the timeline that each program is going to constitute

What will be the infrastructure and tooling needs to support this program

Different Environment that will be used

TEM Strategy

Prior section describes the overall requirement and this section describes in detail about the Test Environment Strategy and covers the following

1) How to book Environment for project purpose including booking 3rd party Environment

2) Assess to Environment to users for project requirement

3) Environment integration and stability management

4) Test data refresh co-ordination

5) Post release Environment validation

6) Support and co-ordination requirement

TDM Strategy

Similar to Environment, different project test teams would require different data requirement and some would need to mock up live data. This section in TDM strategy would provide the below information

What are the forms to be filled and agreement to be in place to serve this data need

What type of data to be loaded and when it will be available

Who will be the point of contact for each program

If any 3rd party Vendor support is required, this would describe in detail of that

Performance Strategy

Based on various programs and its schedules listed in the prior section, performance strategy would describe how Performance Testing requirements would be fulfilled and what their tool strategy, license model is and team availability. If the team also does Performance Engineering, it would describe in detail about how it is performed

It cover details about Requirement phase (How NFR requirement will be gathered from stakeholders, Proof of concept procedure, how critical scenarios are defined.), Testing phase (How testable scripts are created, how data setup is done), Analysis and Recommendation (How performance issues are reported, sign off procedure)

Automation Testing Strategy

Similar to Performance Strategy, Automation strategy would describe how requirements are defined, tool strategy, license model, etc and also elaborate how the Automation team conducts feasibility approach till defining framework, developing scripts till execution and Continuous Testing if it is in-scope

Release and Configuration Management

This section describe the following areas of Release and configuration management

Overall release and configuration strategy

QA deployment and release calendar

How different Test assets are loaded and tracked

Co-ordination of QA Deployment

How QA audit is conducted

How production deployment is co-ordinated by the QA team

Change Management for any CR post-release is managed

Test schedule, cycles and reporting

This section details out about each program, its schedules, Test timeline, Test cycles and how reporting will be carried out.

Risk and Mitigation

This section describes overall risk management and risk mitigation process along with how it will be tracked and reported.

It also classifies various risk levels like Project level and program level risk and describes how it will be handled during the execution phase

Assumption and Dependencies

During Test strategy development the timeline of program etc are in a predictive stage as it could be for a period of 1-5 years and hence there is going to be a lot of assumption which should be listed in this section. Also, there are different teams which Testing team has to co-ordinate with like TEM, TDM, vendors, etc which needs to be called out in advance in the assumption and dependencies as any change in Project-level / Program level scope will have an adverse impact and it has to be called out in strategy as assumption and dependencies

How to write Test Strategy document

For now we have covered about what Test strategy is all about, why it is important and looked in detail about the contents of the Test strategy, it is now easier to define how to write better Test strategy document.

Before writing Test strategy we need to collect few information which is listed below:

List of programs that need to be handled in this stream

Programs and its releases objective and basic requirement it is going to meet

Criteria for Environment and Data management requirement

Timeline of each releases and it’s key stakeholders

Third party integration and vendor management details

Information about Test type and release frequency

Tool requirements/procurement process understanding

Basic assumption and dependency with outside QA Organization

This information will be collected by Program Test Manager after discussing with Key stakeholders of the program.

The collected information has to be discussed internally within the QA team Managers and assign responsibility to detail out further requirements to refine the Test Strategy.

If the program is going to be from the QA Transformation perspective, then further information has to be collected on the key QA levers that are going to run the program run differently.

After identifying the key levers, assign the responsibility of each lever to a dedicated person so that Strategy can be further fine-tuned and can be circulated to wider group.

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In this blog we are going to discuss what test strategy is all about, why test strategy is required when we would require a test strategy document and finally about how to write Test strategy document

What is a Test Strategy

A Test strategy is a static document that describes how the testing activity will be done. This is like a handbook to stakeholders which describes the test approach that we undertake, how we manage risk as well as how we do testing and what all levels of testing along with entry and exit criteria of each activity. This will be a generic document that the testing team would refer to prepare their test plan for every project.

Test strategy act as a guidelines/plan at the global Organization/Business Unit level whereas Test plan will be specific to project and always we should ensure that we are not deviating from what we commit in Test strategy

Why Test Strategy is required

It gives an Organization a standard approach about how Quality is ensured in the SDLC. When there is any typical risk involved in a program, how to mitigate those risk and how can those risks be handled. When every project adopt to the same standard, quality improvement will be witnessed across the Organization and hence Test strategy is important

When do we need a Test Strategy

Below could be some of the circumstances which would require Test Strategy.

When an Organization is forming a separate QA wing

When there is a change in QA Organization from normal QA model to TCoE / QCoE where the operating model and structure is changed

When QA leadership changes who comes with different perception

When Organization is adopting different tool approach for Automation / Performance etc

Contents of Test Strategy

Below are the contents of Test Strategy document

1) Brief Introduction about programs covered in this Strategy

2) Testing Scope and Objective

3) Test Planning / Timeline

4) TEM Strategy

5) TDM Strategy

6) Performance Strategy

7) Automation Strategy

8) Release and Configuration Management

9) Test schedule, cycles, and reporting

10) Risk and Mitigation

11) Assumptions

Brief Introduction about programs covered in this Strategy

This section covers the overall scope this Test strategy is going to be covered with. Important engagement and programs which will run based on this Test strategy.

Testing Scope and Objective

This section describes the following

What will be the different levels of testing conducted like Integration, System, E2E, etc

The process of review and approval of each stage

Roles and Responsibility

Defect process and procedure till final Test sign off

Test Planning and Timeline

This section covers in-brief the following

What are the programs going to be executed

What is the timeline that each program is going to constitute

What will be the infrastructure and tooling needs to support this program

Different Environment that will be used

TEM Strategy

Prior section describes the overall requirement and this section describes in detail about the Test Environment Strategy and covers the following

1) How to book Environment for project purpose including booking 3rd party Environment

2) Assess to Environment to users for project requirement

3) Environment integration and stability management

4) Test data refresh co-ordination

5) Post release Environment validation

6) Support and co-ordination requirement

TDM Strategy

Similar to Environment, different project test teams would require different data requirement and some would need to mock up live data. This section in TDM strategy would provide the below information

What are the forms to be filled and agreement to be in place to serve this data need

What type of data to be loaded and when it will be available

Who will be the point of contact for each program

If any 3rd party Vendor support is required, this would describe in detail of that

Performance Strategy

Based on various programs and its schedules listed in the prior section, performance strategy would describe how Performance Testing requirements would be fulfilled and what their tool strategy, license model is and team availability. If the team also does Performance Engineering, it would describe in detail about how it is performed

It cover details about Requirement phase (How NFR requirement will be gathered from stakeholders, Proof of concept procedure, how critical scenarios are defined.), Testing phase (How testable scripts are created, how data setup is done), Analysis and Recommendation (How performance issues are reported, sign off procedure)

Automation Testing Strategy

Similar to Performance Strategy, Automation strategy would describe how requirements are defined, tool strategy, license model, etc and also elaborate how the Automation team conducts feasibility approach till defining framework, developing scripts till execution and Continuous Testing if it is in-scope

Release and Configuration Management

This section describe the following areas of Release and configuration management

Overall release and configuration strategy

QA deployment and release calendar

How different Test assets are loaded and tracked

Co-ordination of QA Deployment

How QA audit is conducted

How production deployment is co-ordinated by the QA team

Change Management for any CR post-release is managed

Test schedule, cycles and reporting

This section details out about each program, its schedules, Test timeline, Test cycles and how reporting will be carried out.

Risk and Mitigation

This section describes overall risk management and risk mitigation process along with how it will be tracked and reported.

It also classifies various risk levels like Project level and program level risk and describes how it will be handled during the execution phase

Assumption and Dependencies

During Test strategy development the timeline of program etc are in a predictive stage as it could be for a period of 1-5 years and hence there is going to be a lot of assumption which should be listed in this section. Also, there are different teams which Testing team has to co-ordinate with like TEM, TDM, vendors, etc which needs to be called out in advance in the assumption and dependencies as any change in Project-level / Program level scope will have an adverse impact and it has to be called out in strategy as assumption and dependencies

How to write Test Strategy document

For now we have covered about what Test strategy is all about, why it is important and looked in detail about the contents of the Test strategy, it is now easier to define how to write better Test strategy document.

Before writing Test strategy we need to collect few information which is listed below:

List of programs that need to be handled in this stream

Programs and its releases objective and basic requirement it is going to meet

Criteria for Environment and Data management requirement

Timeline of each releases and it’s key stakeholders

Third party integration and vendor management details

Information about Test type and release frequency

Tool requirements/procurement process understanding

Basic assumption and dependency with outside QA Organization

This information will be collected by Program Test Manager after discussing with Key stakeholders of the program.

The collected information has to be discussed internally within the QA team Managers and assign responsibility to detail out further requirements to refine the Test Strategy.

If the program is going to be from the QA Transformation perspective, then further information has to be collected on the key QA levers that are going to run the program run differently.

After identifying the key levers, assign the responsibility of each lever to a dedicated person so that Strategy can be further fine-tuned and can be circulated to wider group.