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Building a Software Test Strategy

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Karen N. Johnson explains that the value of the test strategy isn't in the wording, the writing, or the format of the strategy; the value is in planning an approach for testing.
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What Is a Test Strategy?

A test strategy is a planning document that provides the overall direction for the software testing needs of a project. Developing a test strategy is about setting direction and resolving high-level testing questions. The value of the test strategy isn’t in the wording, the writing, or the format of the strategy; the value is in planning an approach for testing.

Test strategies can range from informal to very formal. In its simplest form, the test strategy is exactly that—a strategy. It’s a roadmap for what testing will be done, and details the way in which the testing will be accomplished:

  • How? Answers to this question might identify the types of testing needed, such as manual or automated testing.
  • Where? These answers detail the actual test environment, including specific server names, and may include a diagram of all the physical or logical components.
  • Who? The test strategy must specify the testing resources and other resources needed to accomplish the testing.
  • When? A good test strategy outlines the time of the first internal build for testing and likely includes a rough schedule for the remainder of the project.

These high-level questions need answers early in a project. The test strategy also might address related testing topics such as purchasing test tools or the defect-reporting process.

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