In product development, designing a good test strategy is challenging in a number of ways and requires broad, strategic thinking. The goal of testing is to ensure that you release a best-quality product that meets customer expectations as documented in your early design concept and requirements gathering phases. Here we’ve laid out the key elements to a successful test strategy.
Prioritize test cases for efficiency and quality
It’s vital to prioritize testing by relevancy and not perform testing that is irrelevant. Without proper planning, testing can be one of the most expensive phases of the development lifecycle. To determine test case relevancy, trace test efforts to the documented primary objectives of the product or system and prioritize test plans from there. Managing all levels of test cases and maintaining their traceability to objectives and requirements is very important from a relevance standpoint, and prevents costly tests of functionality that may be lower priority or even changed or deprecated from the product.
While many teams may be tempted to cut corners in order to save time or money, it is important to balance these perceived cost savings and product quality. In the end, if the product doesn’t meet the original objectives, money will be lost, not saved.
Realize value from your test strategy
It is very important to conduct reporting and analysis of test results that is deep enough to realize the value of the test strategy. In testing, not only do we want to confirm that we’ve met the objectives of our requirements for the product or system, but we also want to learn new things during all phases of testing. New requirements should be captured as part of results analysis, and these should be incorporated into the next phase of product development. Value from testing is realized by incorporating the results of the test strategy into the product strategy. Testing is the mechanism that proves whether the product strategy is effective.
Early and frequent testing allows for innovation
Conducting some form of testing, at every stage of the product development lifecycle, is highly recommended. While it may be time consuming to coordinate stakeholders and then collect and analyze data, getting the right feedback at the right time ensures that you can deliver a high-quality product on time.
In the early stages of development, performing customer exploratory testing is the most cost-effective way to make sure your product strategy is on the mark. Moreover, fostering collaboration between developers and the customer early on — an Agile best practice — allows for instant feedback that gives development teams the clarity they need to iterate and generate more innovation in the product.
At the end of the development lifecycle, conduct system integration tests to ensure components are working harmoniously. Unit tests are beneficial to test various inputs and outputs, performance characteristics, and boundary limits, whether you’re building a hardware or software system.
How To Design a Good Test Management Strategy
- Provide mechanisms to trace tests to product objectives and their associated costs, risks, and priorities.
- Provide mechanisms for all stakeholders to participate (customers, developers, testers, requirements engineers, and product managers).
- Allow large enterprises to coordinate, track, and manage many software testing projects and teams across multiple locations
- Make it easy to create, view and report linkage between requirements, test cases, test data, test scripts, test results, and defects.
- Ensure your process passes test and requirement data between specialized test tools and requirements repositories in an automated fashion.
- Provide analytics to testing progress and status through dashboards, reports and custom queries.