The difference between a test plan and a test strategy

02 Dec 2018
The difference between a test plan and a test strategy

A test strategy is a guideline to be followed to achieve the test objective and execution of test types mentioned in the testing plan. It deals with risk analysis, competency plans, and test objectives. It contains the scope and objective, business issues, testing approach, test deliverables, defect tracking approach, automation, and risks.

A test strategy answers the “what” questions

A test strategy answers the “what” questions, such as: What are the high-level testing objectives? What types of testing are in the scope? What is not in scope? What are some of the risks and mitigations to those risks? What is the finish line, in other words, what is the clearly defined finish line that determines when testing is finished?

The test plan answers the “how” questions

In contrast, the test plan answers the “how” questions. The answers will support the test strategy. It deals with how the test strategy will be executed from a tactical point of view. Examples include: How will the functional testing occur? How many cycles of testing will there be?

There are a number of differences between a test plan and a test strategy. The differences are easier to understand in a table format:

Test Strategy vs Test Plan

Test Plan Test Strategy
A test plan for software project can be defined as a document that defines the scope, objective, approach and emphasis on a software testing effort Test strategy is a set of guidelines that explains test design and determines how testing needs to be done
Components of Test plan include- Test plan id, features to be tested, test techniques, testing tasks, features pass or fail criteria, test deliverables, responsibilities, and schedule, etc. Components of Test strategy includes- objectives and scope, documentation formats, test processes, team reporting structure, client communication strategy, etc.
Test plan is carried out by a testing manager or lead that describes how to test, when to test, who will test and what to test A test strategy is carried out by the project manager. It says what type of technique to follow and which module to test
Test plan narrates about the specification Test strategy narrates about the general approaches
Test plan can change Test strategy cannot be changed
Test planning is done to determine possible issues and dependencies in order to identify the risks. It is a long-term plan of action.You can abstract information that is not project specific and put it into test approach
A test plan exists individually In smaller project, test strategy is often found as a section of a test plan
It is defined at project level It is set at organization level and can be used by multiple projects

Need software testers who can do a comprehensive and thorough test on all your applications and software? Then contact Inspired Testing today.


Sastri Munsamy

Executive: Technology and Innovation for Inspired Testing

Sastri is a passionate and engaging mentor, educator and speaker with extensive experience of real-world testing and automation projects. He has worked in the consultancy industry for over 17 years. He has implemented test automation on various systems ranging from desktop, Web, SAP and mobile applications in multiple industries across the world, with an emphasis on defining an efficient and profitable automation strategy. As a mentor, Munsamy has hosted testing community meetups in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and has guest spoken at numerous industry events.


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