Test Plan and Test Strategy | Difference and What are they

Software testing is the most important activity which determines the success of software project and the success of testing activity is determined by robustness of software test strategy.

What is Software Test Strategy?

Testing Strategies are the high level activities which define the approach for testing phase in the software testing life cycle. This approach is usually planned by project manager based on Business Requirements Specifications, design document and architectural design document which are prepared during requirement analysis phase. Test Strategy Documents states the objectives of the testing process, what all standards will be followed along with the timelines. Resource requirements, estimated costs and list of deliverables are also stated in this document.

This document is not changed often during the course of project and is used for guidelines by project members while creating test plans and cases. Big expensive projects should have a comprehensively defined software test strategy document.
Let us look at the various activities which are involved in the test strategy formation:
  • Preparation of test strategies document for various type of testing. The testing can be unit level, integration, system or user acceptance testing.
  • Testing tools are selected. Testing techniques are decided depending upon the functionality being tested. If repetitive testing is required in the module then automation testing is preferred while if usability of the software is being tested then manual testing is preferred.
  • Total test efforts are being estimated
  • Allocation of resources is done and their roles and respective responsibilities are decided.
  • If any training is required then training is imparted to the testers.
  • Environment requirements are being discussed in this phase which can be hardware, software, OS or network.
  • Capturing of all the approvers of the document, their titles and sign-off date.

What is Test Plan?

Unlike Test Strategy document, test plan is a low level document which is derived from SRS, UC documents and strategy document itself. Some small projects may not require project manager to prepare strategy documents but a test plan should be developed no matter what the scale of project be. It is prepared by test manager or lead.
Test Plan document is more granular and changes as the project moves forward depending on changes in approach or suggestions by team members. While test strategy document is client focused, test plan is project focused.

Read More:
Pros and Cons of Manual Testing
Benefits of Unit Testing
Difference in Test drivers and Test Stubs


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