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Sunday, June 9, 2024

Test Plan vs. Test Strategy: Structure, Goals, and Differences Explained

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Testing is an integral part of any software development process. With a well-thought-out testing plan and strategy, the success of a project can be greatly improved. Understanding the differences between test plans and strategies and their respective structures and goals is essential for any software development team.

This blog post will discuss the differences between a test plan and a test strategy and explain their structures and goals. We will also provide tips on creating an effective testing plan and strategy. So, let’s dive in and get started!

What is a Test Plan?

A Test Plan is a document that outlines the actions to be taken during the testing process, including a strategy for testing, objectives of the testing, error detection criteria, and methods for addressing any risks identified. It also defines the approach, resources, and schedule of planned testing activities.

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The Test Plan defines the scope and objectives of the software testing process, the features to be tested, tasks to be completed during testing, techniques used to design the tests, and more. In short, it captures the entire planning process for testing the product.

Types of Test Plans

  • Master Test Plan: It contains details about the planning and management of test plans and includes the list of tests to be run, coverage of the test, related code tasks, and connections between the different test levels.
  • Level-Specific Test Plans: These plans are developed for each level or testing type (Unit level, System-level, Acceptance level, and Integration level).
  • Type-Specific Test Plans: These are detailed plans created for a specific type of test, such as a performance test plan, functional test plan, and so on.

What is a Test Strategy?

A Test Strategy is a set of instructions that designates the plan and procedure for carrying out the test, which includes who, what, where, when, why, and how the testing process is undertaken. Test plans are closely related to the Test Strategy Document, which explains what they plan on testing and why they will be testing that way.

It typically consists of an overview of the testing process, a detailed description of what they plan on testing, details of the environment in which they plan to test the product, specifics of the tools they plan to use in the testing, steps to take with the software to ensure quality control and some reassurance, and ways to mitigate risk.

Types of Testing Strategies

  • Analytical Strategy: This approach is based on requirements, which are analyzed to derive testing conditions, and tests are designed and executed accordingly.
  • Model-Based Strategy: This strategy involves selecting the current situation and developing a test model based on inputs, outputs, tasks, and possible behaviours.
  • Methodical Strategy: This approach involves following a predefined set of testing conditions and incorporating checklists for specific types of testing.
  • Standard or Process Compliant Strategy: The test engineer in this strategy follows a set of guidelines set by industry experts.
  • Reactive Strategy: Tests are designed and executed only once the final software is developed and delivered, based on defects identified in the existing product.
  • Consultative Strategy: This strategy involves inputting key stakeholders and determining the scope of test conditions.
  • Regression-averse Strategy: This strategy focuses on reducing the risk of regression for different product releases.

Difference Between Both

ParametersTest PlanTest Strategy
NarrationIt describes the common specifications for testing a specific project.It outlines the testing approaches.
InfluenceIt applies only to a single project.It applies to multiple projects simultaneously.
TypesThere are three different types of test plans: level-specific, type-specific, and master test plans.There are several types of test strategies, including analytical, model-based, methodical, standard-compliant, reactive, consultative, and regression averse
ExistenceA test plan typically exists as a standalone document.In some cases, such as smaller projects, a test strategy may be included as part of a test plan.
DerivationIt is created based on use case documents, software requirement specification documents, and product description documents.It is developed from the business requirement specification document.
ScopeIt thoroughly outlines all testing activities.It only highlights high-level test methods and strategies.
Performed byTypically, a test plan is created by a testing manager or lead, outlining how, when, by whom, and what will be tested.A test strategy is created by the project manager as a component of the testing process. It outlines the techniques to be used and the specific modules to be tested.
ComponentsThe components of a test plan typically include: the test plan ID, the features to be tested, techniques to be used, testing tasks, pass/fail criteria, and schedules, among othersThe components of a test strategy typically include: objectives and scope, documentation, and test processes
PurposeIt is performed to identify potential inconsistencies in the final product and address them during the testing process.It is a long-term plan of action for the testing process.


Test Plans and strategies are essential for ensuring quality assurance in any development project. While test plans are focused on providing detailed descriptions of the test cases, test strategies offer a more generalized approach to testing by setting Objectives and key results (OKRs).

A well-developed Test Plan can be the foundation for achieving successful testing results.

Among automation testing tools, TestGrid is an easy-to-use tool that you can rely on for end-to-end testing of applications. TestGrid’s intuitive and powerful features make it easy to design a comprehensive test plan that meets all your needs. With TestGrid, you can quickly and accurately determine if your project is on track or needs additional testing resources.

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