Test Strategy and Test Plan

Test Strategy


A Test Strategy document is a high level document and normally developed by project manager. This document defines “Software Testing Approach” to achieve testing objectives. The Test Strategy is normally derived from the Business Requirement Specification document.

The Test Strategy document is a static document meaning that it is not updated too often. It sets the standards for testing processes and activities and other documents such as the Test Plan draws its contents from those standards set in the Test Strategy Document.

Some companies include the “Test Approach” or “Strategy” inside the Test Plan, which is fine and it is usually the case for small projects. However, for larger projects, there is one Test Strategy document and different number of Test Plans for each phase or level of testing.

Components of the Test Strategy document

  • Scope and Objectives
  • Business issues
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Communication and status reporting
  • Test deliverables
  • Industry standards to follow
  • Test automation and tools
  • Testing measurements and metrices
  • Risks and mitigation
  • Defect reporting and tracking
  • Change and configuration management
  • Training plan

Here is an example of an Agile Test Strategy Document Template

Test Plan

The Test Plan document on the other hand, is derived from the Product Description, Software Requirement Specification SRS, or Use Case Documents.
The Test Plan document is usually prepared by the Test Lead or Test Manager and the focus of the document is to describe what to test, how to test, when to test and who will do what test.

It is not uncommon to have one Master Test Plan which is a common document for the test phases and each test phase have their own Test Plan documents.

There is much debate, as to whether the Test Plan document should also be a static document like the Test Strategy document mentioned above or should it be updated every often to reflect changes according to the direction of the project and activities.

My own personal view is that when a testing phase starts and the Test Manager is “controlling” the activities, the test plan should be updated to reflect any deviation from the original plan. After all, Planning and Control are continuous activities in the formal test process.

Components of the Test Plan document

  • Test Plan id
  • Introduction
  • Test items
  • Features to be tested
  • Features not to be tested
  • Test techniques
  • Testing tasks
  • Suspension criteria
  • Features pass or fail criteria
  • Test environment (Entry criteria, Exit criteria)
  • Test deliverables
  • Staff and training needs
  • Responsibilities
  • Schedule

This is a standard approach to prepare test plan and test strategy documents, but things can vary company-to-company.

Next: Agile Test Plan – Do We Really Need One?

50 Replies to “Test Strategy and Test Plan”

  1. I have completed my s/w testing course, bt I was confused in test strategy and test plan. Now after reading this Answer I am clear and confident to talk about these topics.
    Thaks for this answer. 🙂

  2. A good description. However have the following comments.

    I am of the opinion that the Test Strategy should be created as a one off document and not for evey project.

    I have been using the Test Strategy to communicate to those interested (upper management, project managers, test managers, testers and other interested parties) the strategic direction of our Test Organization.

    As a Test Manager I refer back to this document while defining my Test Plan and take out of the strategy the things (building blocks) that I need (particular phases, techniques, tools, roles etc. ) for my particular project.

    Doing it this way I can reduce the test planning effort by eliminating the Test Strategy as a project document and refer to it only. This way I speed up the process of creating the Test Plan as the thought process is “do I need this building block” as opposed to “which building blocks do I need”.

    When you realise there is a building block missing then the Strategy can be updated and it becomes available for other Test Managers in your organization alike.

  3. I believe the clear distinction between test strategy and test plan is appropriately represented in this article. This is the practice, which I have been following for years in the testing world.

    I recommend this article to all in the testing community.

    Warm regards
    Raghavendra N.K.
    Founder & CEO at Sumadhva Technologies

  4. Hi

    Nice Document though.. few comments
    “I am of the opinion that the Test Strategy should be created as a one off document and not for evey project.”
    this is not true always, as every other project is unique: For Ex: our cricket team members, all the top 6 batsman cannot bat as the same, and all the top 4 bowlers cannot bowl the same, but our strategy should be winning the games,which the success goal for the project, which is very important.

  5. suppose we have to go to from one place to another place this is test strategy and how we are going to the destination this is testplan means test plan is derived from test strategy thankyou.

  6. I think, TS & TP both are Company/Org type
    If it’s Product based, above article is useful while if we are working on Service based company & testing project, Test Plan is core baslined doc and test strategy (which is test Approch) is part of Test Plan.
    In service based company, For testing projects, Test Plan is the combination of Test Strategy/Approch and Test Logistics.

    Another major diff I understood that under such projects, Test Strategy will not have any Risks / Issues. Thats is part of Test Plan. Strategy is mainly about the testing Approch to achive the objective as in Test Plan.

    Let’s have simple example: Test Plan is like Planning done by Cricket team before the match, Ofcourse it’ll have Strategy included in overall game plan.
    After 1st half, there might be change in Test Plan But Strategy will be surely revised Depends on situation of match.
    Now if match goes very tough, at the last over, captain decide any changes in filders allotment, Or may be change the bastman order in last few overs then This is Test Strategy.
    Test Strategy gets changes as per the phases in the testing projects eventually achieving the core objective of Test plan.

    More comments / suggestions are most welcome…

  7. No doubt that the explanations provided about Test Strategy and Test Plan are clear and Lucid. I just want to add a very basic difference between Test Strategy and Test Plan

    Suppose a new change has come up within an organization that has got impacts in multiple systems and thus a number of testing activities like System Testing, Regression Testing, Integration Testing, Performance Testing, UAT etc. are required to be completed before the change goes live. In this scenario the Test Strategy and Test Plan should be written as below

    Test Strategy –> A single Test Strategy document should be written for the entire change. This document should be having summary of what all testing types will be required to be run for this change. The Test Strategy should also be having brief explanations on how these testing should be done. Please note that the Test Strategy should be very high level as far as what testing will be required to be performed.

    Test Plan – Separate Test Plan documents should be written for each testing types having low level details on how that test will be performed. Examples of Test Plan in this case are
    1. System and Test Plan – You can combine System with regression
    2. Integration Test Plan
    3. Performance Test Plan
    4. UAT Test Plan

    In summary a Test Plan document should be specific to a particular test stream

    I hope the above information helps.

    FYI – I am a Test Manager having 7+ years of experience testing and managing tests in major investment banks and I follow what I have written above

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