Revisiting Test Strategy by Fiona Charles

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In 2012, Fiona Charles presented a webinar on creating a test strategy. The webinar was organized by Eurostar. This is a summary of that presentation. The presentation focuses on a fictional but very believable example of a test strategy.

In the presentation, Fiona presented the test strategy for a new generation picnic basket, Alfresco Plus. She asks viewers to imagine that they are the stakeholders of this product and she is the test manager. She presented the strategy as a mindmap. Instead of starting with the development of the strategy, she starts with the presentation of the strategy. It’s easy to get distracted by the mindmap. It’s more important to understand the thinking and reasoning behind the strategy.

You can watch the video here: . It may be easier to follow the video with an image of the mindmap. I would recommend viewing the accompanying slideshare later.

The video is 22 minutes long. The important sections in the video are listed below:

  1. Summary of other values:
  2. Fixed launch date:
  3. EU safety regulations:
  4. Target markets: Families, Young couples, caterers, institutions
  5. Integration:
  6. Capacity:
  7. Environment:
  8. Significant risk:
  9. Serious constraint:
  10. Build strategy:
  11. Out of scope:

In order to develop the test strategy you can use James Bach’s Heuristic Test Strategy Model.

These are some interesting aspects of this talk:

  1. Although this is a fictional post, the treatment of the problem is very realistic and credible. This isn’t like the interview questions, ‘test a pencil..’. The presentation is very complete.
  2. It’s always interesting to see a good example. Discussions about software testing (blogs, conference talks), both from testers, test automation testers and developers, is predominantly about theory. No one is able to show examples (code discussions don’t count).
  3. It’s good to see an experienced professional showing an example. Software testing lacks experienced practitioners who can show how they test. In contrast there are many very experienced developers who write code.
  4. It’s interesting to see how this differs from design. While design may also consider risks, when you create a test strategy, the perspective is very different.
  5. The concept of testing, as followed in good software testing, is not known outside software. Not only is this presentation useful for software, it could be useful for professions not related to software, such as designing picnic baskets.

Teaser: Can we/should we create such a test strategy for agile or devops type teams? How about teams which are focused on test automation? Can developers create such a strategy?

Originally published at on January 18, 2018.

Software testing, project management, managing testers

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