Phase Test Strategy

In this section we’ll walk through a detailed breakdown of the Phase Test Strategy components as they are applied to a generic SAP test programme.

What is a test strategy and how is it different to a test plan?

Out of the 5 W’s (and 1 H),our test strategy intends to ask and answer the Why and the How. The test plan intends to define the Who, Where, What, and When. Much of this split in information is simply a matter of timing – where it is appropriate all 5Ws + 1H could be asked and defined at the same time. In large scale ERP implementations, however, it is more usual to define the test strategy early on in the project/phase and then spend the remaining planning and preparation time defining and refining the test plan elements.

For example, one of our items in our strategy and plan will be testers. The Phase Test Strategy, usually written at the start of the test phase, will form our approach to testers through asking Why we need them and How we will be sourcing them. These are reasonably high-level strategies and are intended to gather agreement from all relevant stakeholders on the approach to sourcing – for example, if we answer the “How” with “testers will be sourced from existing business units A, B, and C, and the units will need to backfill those positions for the duration of testing” then we will need to gain buy-in and acceptance from the business unit manager; by detailing this strategy and gaining acceptance up front early in the planning stage we have gained business approval for identifying testers from their units as well as giving them an opportunity to put into motion their backfill processes. The Test Plan will detail Who the actual testers are (named), Where they will be located during testing, What they will be testing, and When they will be testing it (and it’s worth noting that this information may be included as a number of other documents, for example a resource calendar and/or test schedule, rather than another formal “test plan” document).

The Test Plan, therefore, is a combination of the Test Strategy (your approach to the test phase; the Why and How) plus the logistical deliverables out of your test preparation (the actual things you will use to test; the Who, Where, What, and When). Depending on your communication approach the Strategy could consist of a formal Word document supplemented with a Powerpoint deck, while the Plan could consist of the Strategy plus resource calendar, test schedule, Excel checklists, etc.

What is a “Phase” Test Strategy?

The Master Test Strategy defines (among other things) the phases of the test project; for example, the Master Test Strategy will define that there will be unit, integration, and user acceptance test phases. For each of these phases the phase owner can create a “Phase” Test Strategy to cover the strategic requirements and approaches for that phase. For example, the approach to sourcing testers will be different for, say, integration testing than it will be for user acceptance testing.

Does there need to be a separate “Phase” Test Strategy?

Not necessarily, your needs will depend on the context of your project. The site pages in this section will detail the questions that we will be asking to cover the 5Ws and 1H that are specific for an example SAP implementation, but your actual requirements may be different depending on the test phase you are responsible for, the size and complexity of the implementation, etc. You may decide to create a small checklist instead to cover these questions, and call that your strategy document. Whatever works within the context of your test phase and implementation.

What does a Test Strategy look like?

There is no standard template or “look” for a test strategy (or, indeed, a test plan), and nor should their be – each project will differ in size and scale. Nor does there need to be just a single document that encompasses the Test Strategy, though multiple documents are more common for a Test Plan. However, given that SAP implementation projects tend to be formal, for the purposes of this site we will be examining a formal Master Test Strategy document.

Online templates may include the following sections:

  • Introduction and brief scope statement
  • Test Methodology used
  • Test Design
  • Test Approach
  • Tools used
  • Environments and Infrastructure
  • Data
  • Management Controls (Defect Management, Reporting, Entry/Exit Criteria)
  • Organisation, Roles and Accountabilities
  • Training Needs
  • Milestones and High-Level Schedule
  • Risks, Issues, and Contingencies

However, given that this website is dedicated to mapping Project Management knowledge areas to SAP test management, our template will match those knowledge areas:

  • Planning
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Human Resources
  • Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement
  • Stakeholder Management