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Key Differences between Test Plan, Test Scenario, Test Case, Test Strategy, Test Condition, Test Script

Seeming and sounding so very similar to each other, below are the most commonly used terms in the software testing parlance along with their differences. All in an attempt to clarify doubts concerning these technical terms, the details of these testing techniques come under their respective headings; pairing one term with another.

Let us now look at the pairs along with the differences between them.

Test Plan and Test Strategy

First and foremost, let us focus on defining the two closely resembling terms; Test Plan and Test Strategy.

What is a Test Plan?

A test plan is a deliverable, enlisting all the activities that make up a complete Quality Assurance project. It is a plan that is chalked out by a testing lead or test manager. The plan is a record of the various testing activities supported by their schedules. Included in this exhaustive document are all the details which answer questions centering around “what”, “when”, “how” and “who”.

The Test Plan which emerges as part of the Software Requirement Specification (SRS), clearly indicates what should be tested, when should the test be run, how should the test be conducted and who will be the tester responsible to carry out the test.

Components of a Test Plan:

  • Every test comes with a unique ID. The test plan is a super document that defines the Test Plan ID
  • Indicating the type of test environment that is required to run certain tests, a test plan clearly spells out such details along with a list of all the features that will and won’t be tested
  • The test plan clearly indicates when to start a test and the point at which a test should be abandoned. Specifying the entry and exit criteria, these details help testers to deliver their testing duties as per plan
  • The test plan clearly point to the status of the test; whether a test case has passed or failed or not tested. Along with the results, a detailed reasoning for the same is documented
  • Allowing new testers to join the existing workforce, a test plan through its concise preface and introduction gives a clear “behind the scenes” picture.

What makes up a Test Strategy?

While the word plan and strategy are used interchangeably, there is a difference between them when it concerns the process of testing. While both are tagged as methods to achieve a pre-defined goal, a test plan is different from a test strategy.

A test strategy is a rough draft of the testing approach. Identified as a subset of the Test Plan, a test strategy is a high-level and static document that highlights the method of testing that will be implemented. This is derived from the Business Requirement Specification (BRS).

Components of a Test Strategy:

  • A test strategy enlists the scope and objectives of the test, before the actual testing procedure begins
  • Addressing business issues, the test strategy throws light on the budgeting requirements of the project. Clearly citing the time required for testing, the strategy highlights workforce requirements
  • Enlists all the various documents that should be delivered by the testing team and the manner in which the testing cycles should be conducted
  • The inclusion of a defect tracking tool along with the manner in which the testing team will interact with the development team is another segment of a test strategy
  • Training requirements concerning the use of a new or complex tool are indicated along with the details of the trainer who is ordained to conduct the training sessions
  • In the event the project demands automation testing, a test strategy throws light on the scripting language, the different tools that can be employed along with the reporting and coding practices that should follow

What about Test Scenario and Test Condition?

Simply put, a test scenario is a method in which an application can be tested. On the flip side, a test condition enlists all the specifications a tester should adhere to, as part of testing an application or functionality. That means, there can be multiple test conditions in a single test scenario.

If you are keen to understand the difference between these two terms, the following explanation clarifies all your doubts.

  • A test scenario enlists all the ways in which an application can be tested. A test condition, on the other hand is a description of the specifications that need to be followed by you as a tester of an application
  • A test scenario can be a collection of test cases or a single test case. Speaking of a test condition, it is the goal of a test case; a segment of a functionality that you wish to test
  • A test scenario comes into play when you are hard pressed for time and you are keen on testing a functionality of an application. A test condition is a part of the system that can be tested by a single test case or multiple test cases
  • Compartmentalizing the various aspects of a functionality can pave way for an effective test scenario. A favorable “bug-free” situation is the outcome of a good test condition
  • A test scenario delves on numerous possibilities. On the flip side, a test condition is all about enlisting specific details concerning testing

Test Script and Test Case

Test Script – The Detailed Story

The word “script” can be linked to a story which narrates a descriptive account of all the incidents that take place between different characters. So is the case with a test script. Tagged as a detailed description of a test, the test script includes a series of minute details of all the various actions along with data requirements that are essential to carry out the test. Typically presented in the form of a “line-by-line” description, the test script is a step-wise documentation of the manner in which the software program can be used. Details about which buttons to tap and their serial order to be able to perform a pre-defined function are enlisted.

Coming as a leading light, a test script to a new tester is a handy tool that will help him understand the product details better while also introducing him to business domain specifics. Allowing you to follow all the instructions, it is through a test script that you will be able to meet all the specifications of the test idea to complete the testing procedure.

Test Case

A test case describes a specific functionality that should be tested. It is also important to note that the test case does not include a detailed explanation of the various steps that need to be taken or the information that will come handy to complete the test. Without enlisting any mandatory pre-requisites, a test case certainly gives you a free hand. Allowing you to apply your instincts, it is through this discretion that you will be in total control of what exactly needs to be done to complete the test.

However, this freedom can be of utmost help to the testers who are conversant with the details of the software along with the risks that come with its functionalities. If a tester lacks this basic understanding, a test case may prove to be dysfunctional.