October 15, 2020 Jonny Steiner

What to avoid when developing a web and mobile app testing strategy

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Everyone has their tips for creating a web and mobile app testing strategy. Creating one is like driving a car where every single person in your company is sitting in the backseat and giving you their opinion. Certainly, these situations can end in a “design by committee” situation. The term refers to projects or processes designed by many people but lacking a unifying vision or plan.

I suppose that would be number one on the list of things to avoid when creating an app testing strategy. No one benefits from having that many people involved. Ego often takes over and compromise becomes the name of the game. Everyone has an opinion and viewpoint and they all want to see that represented in the final product. This is best illustrated by the design of the Renault Grand Coupe.

Design by Committee At-a-Glance


I know this has little bearing on mobile app testing but bear with me. You see where the window ends and yet there is a shape that seems to continue the window? My theory has always been that the window should extend all the way, but that was too pricey so they shortened it. However, not to leave out the designer they left the space in as if to placate him somehow. The result is an over-designed car, and anything with too much design might as well not have any at all.

The point is that when creating a web and mobile app testing strategy the main thing to avoid is having a more democratic design process. However, if there is any situation where strong leadership needs to honoring it is in this case. Your mobile testing strategy needs technical value, not political appeasement.

That said let’s take a look at some of the other things that you must avoid when developing web and mobile testing strategies.

Rigid Strategies

mobile app testing strategy rigid

Do not be too specific. It is important to show flexibility in case company stakeholders make changes to your strategy. An Adaptable strategy shows that not only is the plan flexible but so are you and so is your team.

Poor Communication

mobile app testing strategy communication

Seems obvious in light of the previous example but it is important that you do not simply create your test strategy for the sake of it. Management or other institutional leaders asked you to prepare it so take some initiative and ownership of the project. Test strategies should also be updated as you learn more so making it a one-off is a mistake as well. In terms of flexibility, it is also important to speak to relevant members of your organization so that when you do present the strategy they all know you consulted them. Equally important and I will discuss this below, do not create a 50+ page document that no one will ever read.

Going into Detail

mobile app testing strategy detail

I know this seems completely antithetical to what is one of the most detail-oriented processes in the software industry. It’s ok though. Hear me out. The strategy itself is merely a high-level framework. That is the mistake a lot of developers, testers, and even stakeholders make. The strategy needs to be a guide for the actual process. The actual nuts and bolts of the testing strategies implementation are where the actual detail happens so keep it simple when developing a mobile testing strategy, and get into the details when working out its implementation.

Unnecessary Documentation

mobile app testing strategy documentation

This continues the tip from above. The kind of test strategy we are discussing here is at the organizational level. What you are presenting will show the size of your testing efforts and the goals. A testing strategy will illustrate your thoughts about the most effective and efficient ways to produce your software or app. Since the test strategy is often a static document it mainly sets standards. The documentation for processes will come later.

Reality Checks

mobile app testing strategy reality

Developing the perfect testing strategy must honor your company’s current reality. It does not help to develop a strategy that you are unable to follow. The best practice here would be to take stock of where your company is today and then look forwards always keeping your feet firmly planted in reality. Time is also a factor here so be sure to plan test strategies that you know are feasible due to time constraints.

Negative Scenarios

mobile app testing strategy negative

Avoid placing too much focus on scenarios that are less likely to be discovered by end-users. Of course, these scenarios should be tested, however, give priority to the most likely scenarios, that users will encounter.

Automating Everything

mobile app testing strategy automation

Yes, avoid this. I know it sounds nuts, but hear me out. Obviously, we support anyone working to ramp up their testing efforts with automation. However, before deciding that its automation-or-bust you must consider the benefits and costs of an automation strategy. Your testing strategy should leave some room for testing to be executed manually since Automated testing does not always work in each scenario. In a case where you are getting false positive and negative results, it adds up to severe technical debt which can sink your testing methods. Once you are ready for automation read this.

Thin Focus

mobile app testing strategy narrow

Do not simply write up a strategy and tell everyone to test more. Increasing testing does not always add up to better testing. Building coverage should focus on maximizing impact instead of test cases. Take the problems you are trying to solve and break them down into specific cases, then work on them incrementally. That will put better coverage in place quickly. Place focus on your getting your critical path up and running, and never write the same test twice. The point is to make tests easier to insert into workflows.

Sterile Functional Testing

mobile app testing strategy sterile

When developing a testing strategy you might think of only including functional testing and not performance testing. Your app success is based on more than just functionality. It is important to test the “what” (functionality) of an app, equally important is testing the “how” (performance). Testing outside app influences is of equal importance and must be included in any testing strategy to ensure the most accurate tests. For insight into a great performance testing solution click here.

What to “Really” Avoid

Yes, all of the above is necessary but we have another topic that is important when developing a test strategy. That is overthinking. An overly complex testing strategy is not an elegant solution. We also know that complex plans often break down.

When creating a mobile app testing strategy it is important to do your homework. Starting with a full understanding of how, when, and where users will interact with your app will help your work on the high-level aspects of your test strategy and present it in a way that is relevant for everyone involved from stakeholders to QA.

Jonny SteinerContent Manager

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