Who moved my Test Strategy – Finding order in te chaos of Agile Testing with the Quadrants

Software quality as defined by the organisations and in very specific system contexts have different dimensions. ISO 9216 defined the quality characteriscts of a system as FRUEMP(Functionality, Reliability, Usability, Efficiency, Maintainability and Portability) and then they worked further on it evaluating it via the SQuaRE (Software product Quality Requirements and Evaluation) framework to come up with ISO 25010 which took the quality dimensions upto the following 8 parameters Functionality, Efficiency, Compatibility, Usability, Reliability, Security, Maintainability, and Portability.

Fig: ISO 9126 Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO/IEC_9126

Add to these 8 dimensions the focus( Meeting Requirements vs finding critical errors / Prevention vs detection) and the depth of testing to be pursued at every level of testing (unit , integration , system and acceptance) to be pursued in the test strategy in an Agile project . it brings us to the following intriguing questions.

  • How can we structure all of this in an Agile Test Iteration?
  • Is there scope for a Test Strategy and a Test plan in an Agile Project
  • How do we achieve and measure Test Coverage in an Agile Project?

Lisa Crispin and Jenet Gregory had proposed the Agile Testing quadrants in the book “Agile Testing“. This was a reworked model of the Test Matrix for different testing types proposed by Brian Marick for Xtreme Programming. I have found this to be a good starting point develop an Agile Test strategy.

Fig: Brian Maricks Test Matrix Source : http://www.exampler.com/old-blog/2003/08/22/#agile-testing-project-2

Fig: Agile Testing Quadrants Source: https://lisacrispin.com/2011/11/08/using-the-agile-testing-quadrants/

We need to understand the Test quadrants as a list of test types, categorised and arranged for better visualisation rather than as a sequential flow or a coverage metric.

The quadrants are explained as:

  • Q1: technology-facing tests that guide development
  • Q2: business-facing tests that guide development
  • Q3: business-facing tests that critique (evaluate) the product
  • Q4: technology-facing tests that critique (evaluate) the product

The Left side of the quadrant deals with test that espouse prevention of defects and the right side with tests that focus on detection of bugs and missing features. The Top half of the quadrant are tests with exposure to external stakeholders and business customers while the bottom half are test intended for internal usage.

The quadrant is a visualisation mechanism for the Agile tester to look at the breadth, depth and level of tests and ten select appropriate tests in a iteration.

Are you interested to know more on how to apply in this your Agile testing projects. Do look out for the next workshop on ISTQB Agile Testing Extension.


Jayapradeep Jiothis, Eyes/Chakshu, testaing.com

17+ years of IT industry experience in managing and leading end-toned software testing projects (including SCRUM based), consulting assignments and training in software testing

Extensive experience in building and managing Offshore Test Centres and Test Factories for customers such as GE Energy, Global Dawn, Spin Vox, Clear speed and Neptune.

In-depth understanding in budgeting, estimations, process definition, metric tracking and project risk management.

A solution architect with hands on experience on various tools. JP, as he is fondly called by his friends, is a master of strategic thinking and the breadth of his knowledge about technology and markets is astounding.