Re: Difference between Test Strategy & Test Planning
The answer I give you will be based on my experience, and not necessarily on a "book" answer. You will need to compare any replies you get here, which is a "real world" site, against the expectations of your managers or teachers.
Part of the difference between a strategy and a plan has to do with when those documents are produced. A strategy can be started very early, even before the analysis phase of a project, and is primarily used to communicate the testing infrastructure. This would include general assumptions about the environments, what types of tests will be run, what the quality goals will be, how defects and status reports will be handled, what tools will be used, what types of deliverables will be produced from the testing, etc. I personally always include a loose schedule of testing deliverables as well.
Planning, on the other hand, occurs somewhat later in the process. There should be <some> testing deliverables completed, and the test plan should include a link to those deliverables. I may reiterate some information from the test strategy document. I always include an actual plan of the test sessions, with responsible individuals listed. I prefer to produce a plan 2 or 4 weeks prior to the testing effort. Any earlier than that, and I end up rewriting it. Any later than that, I have difficulties incorporating any comments/issues from other departments.
One of the biggest complaints or problems I've received from other professionals in the field is that they are asked for a plan before they even have a clue as to the true scope of the project. I always advise them to write up a test strategy instead; you can strategize on very little information.