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Liveblogged! Introduction to Test Strategy by Rikard Edgren

  • 12/12/2012
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  • Posted by Laszlo

Below is a live blog by Mauri Edo which was written during Rikard Edgren’s webinar – ‘An Introduction to Test Strategy’ from Monday, 3rd, December. If you wish to download a copy of Rikard’s presentation slides from the webinar, please follow this link.

So yes, this is my first liveblogging experience, to see if it suits me more than live-tweeting. This blog post hasn’t been live blogged as the standards say, but developed live and posted afterwards, as soon as my perfectionism for editions allowed me to.

To start with, this webinar is part of a series made by Eurostar Conferences and performed by Rikard Edgren, one of the three masterminds behind the blog Thoughts from the test eye and author of the paper, to name one of lots, “The little black book on test design” which I’ve read recently and enjoyed a lot :-)

The webinar has been focused in test strategy for a single project to be tested, not about policy nor processes, but in why to test and how to do it, and everything in between.

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Regarding the why, Rikard started with the concept of “testing mission”, as the answer to the question “Why do we test?”, because it turns to be hard to do good testing without knowing well our mission, why we test, and who provided this mission to the test team. Samples of missions can be found in the BBST foundations course materials provided by the AST (slides 69-73), like finding important problems, blocking premature releases, evaluating third party products… The testing mission affects the test strategy as different testing missions require different testing, therefore different test strategies.

Rikard suggested to use the named “so trick” in order to fight against vague missions, like “test the product”. By adding a final “so…” to this sentence (and then getting an follow-up to it), the mission gets progressively defined, providing us more valuable information to perform better and more focused testing.

Based on the requirements, and in contrast to everything, there is “important” stuff to test.

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In order to identify what’s important to test, some tips could be to talk to the stakeholders, asking them what they want to know as many times as needed, plus getting ideas from other sources (like the ones provided in the paper “37 sources for test ideas”, co-authored by the presenter). If the mission is, for instance, to identify important problems, it can be elaborated with examples (patches, complaints, bad reviews…) or guidelines (checklists, case studies, requirements…) as well.

Rikard then advanced to talk about Context Analysis, based on James Bach’s HTSM: how the environment can affect the testing, what should be actually be tested (with a reference here to the SFDIPOT mnemonic powered by Bach as well in the mentioned model), what quality characteristics are important to consider (capability, reliability, usability, charisma… See more at the presenter’s poster on “Software Quality Characteristics”). Rikard also provided some examples on reliability, which came in handy as sometimes webinars only scratch the theoretical surface of the subject, lacking of practical applications.

Finally, the test strategy topic was introduced. The purpose of the test strategy is to drive the testing in order to reach the testing mission, consisting of guidelines describing what to test and how to test it, in order to communicate this strategy to the stakeholders as well as the testing team; some examples were presented to address the need for details in test strategy in order to make it useful. In addition to detail, the uniqueness of the test strategy was also suggested, as every situation requires a unique test strategy, and preferring several useful and justified strategies than a silver-bullet perfect strategy, probably unachievable or incomplete.

Aspects of a test strategy could be goals, techniques, test ideas, information sources, oracles, models… but they always need to be adjustable, as situations (why we were testing, the current context…) change. Due to this, a little sense of risk judgement is required, in order to focus on what’s important, plus being ready to add new info and feedback from testers and stakeholders.

To sum up, Rikard referred to a test strategy as the outcome of the gathered and shared information plus our own thinking processes, encouraging us to find strategies for our context, learning to understand what is important for us, in our situation.

End of liveblogging, great webinar on a great topic! :-)


mauri_edo1Mauri Edo is a self-made testing professional currently working as a QA Manager at Netquest, a firm specialised in on-line market research services, from Barcelona to the world. Always ready to discover new things, Mauri is a huge defender of continuous learning, knowledge sharing and testing conversations. You can find him on Twitter as @Mauri_Edo and blogging (Spanish) and at the Software Testing Club(English)

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