Sunday, October 17, 2010

Test Strategy - How to define and implement it?

On this October 14, I attended a web talk by Alan Page along with several others. The topic of Alan's session was Test Strategy. I would like to list the points that I saw and heard Alan make before making my own observations:
  1. Consider the context before creating your test strategy. It is useful to consider your own situation in terms of your team's composition, their current skills, their desired skills and other goals. For example, it may be okay communicating the test strategy verbally within a small team of say up to 20 people. However, when you have a large team, it becomes useful to document the test strategy and distribute it so that everyone is on the same page.
  2. After considering your context, the next step in the process is your fact-finding and assessment. This helps you answer questions like how is testing at present, how would it be different in the future, would other parameters change and how could the team change to meet the future requirements.
  3. A useful way of clarifying your thoughts is to map your facts to goals. What is your current state (fact) and what is your desired state (goal)?
  4. The journey from your Current state to Desired state may not be a straight jump but a series of steps. However, each step should aid the transition away from the Current state and towards the Desired state.
  5. Once the strategy is in place, just take the desired actions. Track and review the progress and adjust course if required.
It was a clear and thought-out presentation. You can view the talk here. It should take you about 30 minutes to listen to it. Now my questions and comments.
  1. Each action (even the tiniest one) taken in an organization should contribute to the organization's objectives positively. How does the test strategist ensure that each step outlined in the test strategy maps to the organization's objectives and ultimately to its vision? A test strategist should be keenly aware of their organization's business objectives. Further, the test strategist should be aware of other factors such as the current customer experience, competition and the direction the industry is moving.
  2. Implementing a test strategy in a sizeable team is no mean task. Other than piloting actions and showing supporting data to other team members, what are the ways to smoothen the implementation of a test strategy? It may require sessions to explain the test strategy to each team member, arranging and executing any training they may need and providing the supporting processes and tools to the team help take action to move to the Desired state. Explaining what is in it for them, recognition of good performers and championing the test strategy may also help attain buy-in from the team members.
  3. How does the test strategist know that they have arrived and it is time for the next strategy? By ascertaining if the desired state is institutionalized (data consistently points to the desired state, team members discuss about the Desired state as the Current state and team members have become a little complacent).


  1. You have raised some true points regarding a test strategy but there is some points you have missed. The one's you have listed are good and should be followed.

  2. Hi,

    These are some high level points pertaining to test strategy. But, I am really curious about any important points that I might have missed. Could you please provide them?

    Thanks for your comment and endorsement.

  3. Have waited for the missing points on the test strategy for so long but for now i assume there are no missing points.