Test Strategy Spotlight
Testing is an essential phase in any implementation project, required to ensure that the final product has uncompromised functionality and performance. With such ambitious objectives, it is paramount to have a rigorous and comprehensive test strategy in place.
What is Test Strategy?
Test strategy is a crucial document that outlines the process and approach to software testing. It is created by the test manager to communicate with the business and the project about essential decisions and foundations of the testing process. It includes testing objectives, testing methodology, timelines, resources, and control mechanisms. In short, it informs the stakeholders about what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it.
What should be covered by the Test Strategy?
When writing the test strategy, the following elements must be considered and defined:
· Test objectives and guidelines
· Test scope and approach
· Methodology and test framework
· Test stages and key deliverables
· Entry and exit criteria
· Key timelines and dependencies
· Test controls such as defect management, test monitoring, and reporting
· Test environments, test tools, and test data
· Roles and responsibilities
· Risks and assumptions
All these components must be addressed, reviewed, and agreed by all the key stakeholders, as this will provide the foundation for all future communication and decision making.
To further improve the effectiveness of your test strategy, you should consider some of the following aspects:
· Project Delivery Methodology: Project delivery methodology will form the strategy's foundation, as testing processes and deliverables should align and seamlessly integrate with overall delivery and governance. However, it is essential to note that it is only one of many elements that test strategy must consider. The balance to avoid a one-sided approach to testing and missing other vital requirements will inevitably drive up the costs through replan and rework later on.
· Risks: Complete and all-encompassing testing is nearly impossible; therefore, it is vital to check your client's risk appetite early on and manage their expectations accordingly. Outline prioritization techniques to be used throughout testing and ensure that business is fully involved in securing maximum buy-in.
· Skills: It is crucial to analyze the skill set and the knowledge of the team and testers. Any skill gaps should be addressed through training in advance, to prepare the workforce for the test phase and minimize potential risks and costs of delays through inadequate test preparation and execution.
· Compliance: Any audit or regulatory requirements must be assessed and documented from the start, as they will impact test processes and deliverables. It is worth checking with the client their established processes and tools for managing compliance and leverage them where possible.
· Automation: The most popular trend in testing by far is automation. Although the client and project always want to automate everything, the test strategy must provide a clear and balanced approach to addressing such aspirations. Undoubtedly, test automation further improves the software delivery cycle's quality and efficiency, but it can quickly increase the project's tooling and maintenance costs. Therefore, the test strategy must guide effective automation implementation, considering project complexity, scope, and state of the team's target operating model, skills, and experience.
In the time of agile, a test strategy is more critical than ever. Frequent requirement changes and quick introduction of the new features, reduced time for regression assessment, compressed preparation and execution cycles – All call for a comprehensive and stable approach to be put in place to control the quality and meet the challenges of this fast-paced implementation practice.
The key considerations above should mitigate the risks and common pitfalls associated with an inadequate test strategy: commoditized test preparation, lack of awareness of business requirements and processes, low test coverage, and unnecessary and irrelevant testing.
Your test strategy should be more than just a document; it must provide your test delivery foundation – the clarity and basic structure, removing any uncertainty and ambiguity for the stakeholders.
At Tenthpin, we offer test management and delivery services, tailored to your project and business needs. We have a highly skilled and experienced team to provide consulting and assurance services and support in test automation, defect management, tools, and vendor selection.
Contact our industry experts at Tenthpin Management Consultants if you would like to learn more.
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