Test organization

What is a test organization?

A test organization defines who is responsible for what activity in the test process. The organization defines the test functions, test facilities and test activities. It defines the competencies and knowledge of the people involved.

In general, everyone is responsible for quality and therefore (almost) everyone is, in one form or the other, involved with testing. The structure of testing must resemble the associated system development approach, be it Agile, waterfall or a hybrid form. In many cases, this translates to a project or team organization with testing either as an integral part of the project/team or as a separate, possibly independent, entity. Where there is frequent (re)testing, especially in combination with scarce test knowledge and experience, testing can also be organized in a line or staff function, the so called permanent test organization.

Next to these ‘in company’ test approaches, testing can be conducted outside the realm of ‘the company’ through outsourcing or ‘Crowd testing’. These ‘out of company’ test approaches yield their own, specific needs for test organization.

This table gives examples number of common organizational forms.

  Independent activity integrated with other activities
Project organization
  • System test
  • Acceptance test
  • Unit test
  • Tests in Agile environments (e.g. Scrum, DevOps) 
Permanent organization
  • Test factory
  • Test line
  • Maintenance process
  • end-to-end test organization
  • Crowd test (e.g. beta, compatibility, usability, game, mobile test)
People Involved

Of course, in general everyone is involved in the test organization. In general, the definition of the test organization is decided by a large part by management within an organization.


Tangible products that shape a test organization are:

Success Factors

The success of a test organization lies in timely and effectively assigning test resources and tools.

Well educated testers, be it full time professional testers that pursue a career in testing or part timers with testing as a second or third competence. 
Familiarity with and commitment to the test organization throughout the company.