Difference between Test Plan and Test Strategy

“Test Plan” and “Test Strategy” are the two important terms that come into play for software testing. Both of them are essential parts of the QA process. However, these two terms can often be misinterpreted and used interchangeably. So I thought of sharing, what is the difference between a test plan and a test strategy? When should you use a plan, and when is it better to use a strategy?

Test Plan:

A test plan is a formal document derived from the requirements documents. This document describes the different actions that will be performed in the testing process according to the control quality process. It defines the approach, estimate, expectations, assets and schedule for planned test activities. It identifies the scope and purpose of the software testing process, the different features that need to be tested, the techniques used to design the tests, and much more. It records the whole process of tests planned to be performed for the product.

The test plan answers the question “how to test❓at the project level.

Test Strategy:

A test strategy is a high-level document describing how testing will be performed in an organisation. It contains a set of instructions, guidelines or principles that determine the design of the test and how the test process will be carried out. It aims to provide a systematic approach to the software testing process to ensure quality, traceability, reliability and better planning. Documents such as test plans derive their content from the test strategy document.

The test strategy, faithful to the test policy*, responds to the question “how to test ❓in an organisation

*The test policy describes why the organisation tests. It defines the overall objectives for testing that
the organisation wants to achieve. The testing policy responds to the question, “why test ❓”.

Difference Between Test Plan and Test Strategy:

Test planTest strategy
The test plan can be defined as a document that defines the approach, scope, objective and the different activities performed during testing.The test strategy is a high-level document containing instructions or guidelines on how to perform testing.
The test plan is specific to a particular project and rarely repeated.The test strategy is usually for an entire organisation. It is used by multiple projects and can be repeated multiple times.
It’s about the details and the specifics.It’s about general approaches and methodologies.
The test plan answers “how to test” at the project level.The test strategy responds to the question “how to test ” in an organisation.
Test plans can be modified or updated.The test strategy cannot be often changed.

Conclusion:

Test strategy describes the organisation’s general, project-independent standard for testing activities.
On the other hand, a test plan describes the implementation of the test strategy with specific details of QA responsibilities and processes for a particular project.

I am curious to hear more from you on your understanding of both. Share your thoughts 🙂


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Software QA engineer, blogger |ISTQB®|SMC™

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