Easy way to create a test strategy: key components, types and impact on the project

Nadezhda Yushkevich
Updated on
Jun 21, 2024
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In our tech-driven world, a strategic approach is essential for success. Dive deep into selecting the right type of test strategy, understanding its impact on project success, and implementing best practices with our comprehensive article. With expert insights and practical advice, you'll be equipped to design a test strategy that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness. Don't miss this opportunity to supercharge your testing efforts – unlock the secrets to success with our article now!

Software testing strategy: a document overview

The test strategy is a document at the organizational level that outlines how testing will be approached and accomplished. It's not tied to a specific project in the software testing life cycle, but instead sets out general testing principles for all projects within the organization.

As software and teams expand, having the right test tools and strategy becomes essential to ensure an application is free of bugs. While hiring more testers and relying on manual testing might seem like options, they can be costly and might not cover all test scenarios and functionalities adequately, unlike automation testing.

So, a test strategy is a crucial framework for managing the software testing process, providing guidelines for test design and documenting testing techniques specific to a software product. It helps maintain consistent testing practices by organizing testing approaches and essential information for developers, testers, and stakeholders.

A test strategy covers various aspects such as the type and approach of testing chosen, test-level risks for the organization and stakeholders, the roles of individual testers, and the test execution tools used. Writing a test strategy requires careful planning and understanding, but with the right approach, even this complex task can be accomplished efficiently.

Test plan and test strategy: differences

A test plan outlines the scope, objectives, methodology, and key components of a software testing project, while a test strategy delineates the methodologies and approaches to be employed.

Test plan Test strategy
Describes elements such as test plan ID, testing features, types and roles, pass/fail criteria, test deliverables, team roles, and release schedule. Describes factors like scope, formats, processes, tools, reporting, and client communication.
Typically crafted at the project level, detailing specific actions for testing. Typically crafted at the organizational level, establishing the broader vision for testing.
Determines the scope of test coverage. Defines the test objectives.
Typically created by the test lead or manager. Typically developed by the project manager in collaboration with business stakeholders.

Test strategy impact on project outcomes

A test strategy document offers numerous advantages for software development projects. 

Here's why it's beneficial:

Clear direction. The document provides a precise roadmap for testing efforts, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working towards shared goals.

Efficient resource utilization. By detailing necessary resources like personnel and tools, it helps allocate resources effectively, optimizing the testing process.

Risk mitigation. Potential risks and mitigation strategies are identified, enabling proactive risk management and minimizing their impact on the project.

Test coverage and quality. A well-defined strategy ensures comprehensive test coverage, addressing both functional and non-functional aspects of the software. This results in higher quality and reduces the chance of critical issues slipping through.

Enhanced communication. Serving as a communication tool, the document ensures stakeholders understand the testing approach, timelines, and expectations. It fosters collaboration and transparency among team members.

Types of test strategies

Methodical strategy. This strategy follows pre-defined rules and standards that the product must meet. Think of it like using a checklist to ensure all necessary criteria are met, similar to ISO 2500 standards often used in security testing.

The methodical strategy is especially useful in industries with stringent regulatory requirements, such as healthcare or finance. It ensures that all necessary criteria are met and can be useful in security testing where adherence to standards is crucial.

Agile strategy. An agile testing strategy promotes collaboration and adaptability. Unlike traditional methods, agile testing encourages ongoing improvement, with testers collaborating closely with customers, end users, and development teams throughout the entire process.

In agile methodology, flexibility replaces rigidity, allowing for quick adjustments based on real-time feedback. This fosters innovation through continuous collaboration and experimentation. In contrast, traditional approaches like the waterfall method stick to predetermined processes, which can impede the integration of new insights.

Central to agile testing is the idea of cross-functional teams, where every member shares responsibility for the project's success. This inclusive approach ensures that testers work closely with developers, customers, and stakeholders at every stage of development, promoting alignment and effectiveness.

Analytical strategy. Developers analyze project requirements upfront and integrate them into the testing strategy. It's handy for projects with specific risks and needs, with a focus on adapting the strategy based on these requirements. Analytical strategy is beneficial in complex projects where a thorough understanding of requirements is essential.

Reactive strategy. Unlike methodical testing, reactive testing kicks in after the software is released. It's flexible and responds to defects as they're discovered. Exploratory testing, where testers explore software irregularities and focus on solutions, is a prime example.

Model-based strategy. Testers create a model representing various aspects of the project, helping simulate real-world conditions for testing. This strategy often involves using modeling languages like UML or mathematical specification languages. Model-based strategy is beneficial for complex systems where understanding interactions between different components is crucial.

Directed/consultative strategy. This strategy relies on input from knowledgeable stakeholders, such as clients. It prioritizes their suggestions, especially for less complex testing aspects like operating systems or browsers. This approach ensures that testing efforts align with stakeholders' expectations and requirements. Thus, a directed/consultative strategy is beneficial when you need to work closely with stakeholders.

Anti-regression strategy. With a focus on minimizing regression risks, this approach heavily relies on automation and self-testing mechanisms to catch issues before product delivery.  It's particularly useful in projects with frequent code changes or releases, ensuring that new features or modifications don't introduce unintended side effects or regressions.

Process/standard compliant strategy. Test teams must adhere to standardized terms, policies, and regulations, ensuring compliance with industry standards set by authorities like the FDA or ISO. It's particularly important in regulated industries where adherence to standards and regulations is mandatory for product approval and market release.

Mixed strategy. The mixed strategy is a versatile approach that caters to the distinct dynamics of development and testing processes within an organization. By blending different methodologies and techniques, it aims to optimize testing efforts and achieve superior outcomes. This strategy recognizes the diverse needs and challenges present in the organization's environment, allowing for a tailored and adaptable approach to testing strategy creation. 

Each strategy offers a different angle to ensure software quality, catering to various project requirements and industry standards.

Choosing the right strategy

When selecting the most suitable testing strategy for a project, it's crucial to consider several criteria to ensure the right decision. These include:

Validity time. Depending on the nature of the software product, testing may be needed either once or periodically over an extended duration.

Organizational directives, types, and scope. The policies, structure, and size of the responsible organization are significant factors in determining the appropriate testing approach.

Specific risks and security. Incorporating considerations of the specific risks and security requirements associated with the product is essential for comprehensive testing.

Key components of a test strategy

Scope and objectives. This component involves defining the testing tasks, responsibilities, and timelines. It's important to identify the key individuals responsible for approving, reviewing, and utilizing the test strategy document.

Testing approach. The next consideration is determining whether the project will follow Agile or Waterfall methodologies for testing.

Testing types to perform. Once the approach is established, it's time to outline the testing process and life cycle, encompassing various levels such as regression, load, security, and performance testing.

Hardware-software configuration. A crucial aspect involves specifying the requirements and configuration needed for each environment. This aids in decision-making regarding the use of physical or virtual machines.

Testing tools. Selecting the appropriate tools for test execution comes next. This includes considering various options such as commercial, open source, and automation tools, while also evaluating their capacity to support users.

Test artifacts. Defining the necessary artifacts and documents to communicate testing progress and findings is essential. This involves providing a brief outline of items to be created for effective communication.

Testing measurements and metrics. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and success metrics is vital. These metrics, such as test coverage and defect density, serve as benchmarks to measure efficiency and quality throughout the testing process.

Risks. Identifying potential risks and developing mitigation plans follows. This includes considering contingency plans for scenarios with high-probability, high-impact risks, such as tight timelines or lack of expertise.

Test environment. This component includes a detailed description of the required setup for the test environment, covering aspects such as hardware specifications, necessary software installations, network configurations, and any data requirements.

Exit criteria. Predefined conditions that signify the completion of the testing process. This may include reaching specific thresholds for defect density or ensuring the completion of a predefined set of test cases.

Test strategy template: 9 basic steps

Now that we have all the basic information about the role of the test strategy document and approaches for creating it, and we understand the key components of a test strategy, let's gather all this knowledge and create such a document step by step. You can download a test strategy template from this link.

Step 1. Establish testing goals and objectives:

  • Clearly define the goals and objectives of the testing effort.
  • Align testing activities with project requirements, business goals, and user expectations.

Step 2. Determine testing scope:

  • Define testing boundaries, including modules or functionalities to be tested, test levels, and required testing types.
  • Identify any exclusions or limitations in the testing scope.

Step 3. Select testing approach:

  • Choose appropriate testing approaches and techniques based on project requirements, complexity, and risk.
  • Consider the software development lifecycle model being used.

Step 4. Specify test environment and infrastructure:

  • Identify required hardware, software, and network configurations for testing.
  • Plan to purchase or set up specialized tools or resources.

Step 5. Establish test data management strategy:

  • Define guidelines for test data creation, identification of dependencies, and data management practices.
  • Ensure data security, privacy, and compliance with regulations.

Step 6. Outline test execution and reporting process:

  • Detail test execution methodology, including test case creation, execution cycles, and defect tracking.
  • Specify reporting formats, metrics, and KPIs to measure testing progress and quality.

Step 7. Develop test automation strategy document:

  • Identify areas suitable for test automation and outline implementation strategy.
  • Choose appropriate tools, define framework, and allocate resources for test automation.

Step 8. Address risks and mitigation strategies:

  • Identify potential risks and challenges in the testing process.
  • Devise mitigation strategies to minimize impact on project timelines and deliverables.

Step 9. Define test deliverables and exit criteria:

  • Specify expected test deliverables, including plans, cases, reports, and other artifacts.
  • Establish criteria for determining completion of testing.

Best practices: just keep them in mind


It's not wise to be overly rigid in your testing approach. Product development is a constantly changing process, and test managers need to be aware of this. Factors like newly discovered defects, feedback from users or stakeholders, and updates can all necessitate changes in approach.


Effective communication is crucial for any team activity, including strategy creation. Strong coordination among test managers and engineers significantly improves code and testware quality, ensuring smooth transitions between project components and quick error apprehension.

Runtime tracking

For strategies resembling reactive testing, where testing occurs periodically even after product release, recording lead time is essential. This helps streamline repetitive tasks, encouraging quicker error resolution and process efficiency.

Schedule estimation

Listing estimated schedules for each strategy measure, detailing responsible teams or individuals, and noting actual execution durations fosters a systematic approach to task completion.

Shift-left testing

Initiating testing strategies early in software development, known as shift-left testing, facilitates early bug detection and reduces time and cost for fixes. It also allows for trial-and-error with minimal risks and organized error handling.

Test automation

Automation testing tools significantly enhance testing efficiency. While configuring tools to match product requirements can be complex and costly, maximizing automation coverage remains the most effective testing approach.

Practice regression testing

Performing regression cycles in later development stages, especially for products subject to frequent updates, streamlines testing. With minimal code changes in later stages, registering regression cycles becomes a beneficial practice for thorough testing.


Use the knowledge gained from this article to craft a tailored approach that aligns with your project goals and organizational needs. Apply Zebrunner test case management for creating and managing test cases, as well as performing test runs and tracking the results; and Zebrunner automation reporting to enhance your test automation process. 

About the author

Nadezhda Yushkevich

Content Writer and Tech Journalist

With 11 years of work experience in journalism, media management, PR, and content marketing, she has specialized in IT and startup areas for the last five years. Interested in practices, trends, and approaches in the field of quality assurance.