A simple yet powerful Test Strategy for planning the Test Execution cycles.

The purpose of this post is to – 

  • Remind testers what they should think while designing tests.
  • Remind test/project/delivery managers what they should think while planning for the project and making deadline commitments.

Test Cycles to be considered while planning and designing tests:
Cycle # Testing Type Short Description
1 Functionality & Claims: Conformance to the requirement document
  End to End  
  InterModular Dependency of one module with another
  Business Functional Usually conducted by Business Analyst/Requirement Owner
2 Concurrent User scenarios –  Testing with multiple users on each screen concurrently & validate the
3 Browser Compatibility Testing (across different versions of IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc)
4 Usability/Consistency Testing –  
5 Data Tours & Testing of Exception Handling code –  Application tour with different data sets (e.g special characters)
[Majorly Adhoc]
6 Volume Testing –  Testing with certain amount of data
7 Load Testing –  Testing with certain amount of users

For Managers:

While Planning the tests – For each major Product Backlog Item/Major modules/Functionality, Test/Project Managers should think whether above mentioned test cycles are required or not.

You should plan separate test cycles for Usability/Consistency Testing and Data Tours & Testing of Exception Handling code. Don’t mix these with Functionality & Claims Testing.


For Testers:

While designing the tests – For each requirement under test, testers should think whether above mentioned test cycles are required or not.

If testers are unsure about any test cycle then they should raise concerns and ask to their managers.

Most of the times, “Functionality & Claims” testing is priority 1. This cycle is usually required for each functionality.

Cycle # 2 to 9 – These cycles should be executed at-least once on each functionality (if required). If time does not permit to execute rest of the cycles, put a disclaimer – “Application is tested on the basis of functional testing, rest of cycles (Data Tours, Browser Compatibility Testing, Usability/UI Consistency, Load, Volume, etc) are not executed.”

  • Concurrent User scenarios – Analysis from development team is required. Some functionality might not need testing with “concurrent users”

Strategy for Test Execution Cycles


I call it simple because it is very easy to remember. I call it powerful because it works for me in every project I have worked. It is not complex like Heuristic Test Strategy Model. To understand HTSM, a newbie might have to read it 4-5 times or even more. HTSM is a better way of planning and designing the tests, but the cycle and points I mentioned above can help you in planning the test cycles quickly when you don’t have much time.

[A recent discussion on HTSM with Ajay B forces me to publish this post]