Software Testing Life Cycle: 6 Phases, Entry & Exit Criteria

Software Testing Life Cycle: 6 Phases, Entry & Exit Criteria

Testing is a development tool that adds value to the apps of your development team. Accepting testing as a necessary component of software development might save you and your team a lot of time in the future when debugging and resolving issues. You risk alienating clients if you are unable to fully and thoroughly validate your items before they are used. In this post, we’ll provide an explanation of 6 phases in the software testing life cycle process, as well as the Entry & Exit Criteria. 

What is the Software Testing Life Cycle?

The Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a series of particular tasks carried out throughout the testing process to guarantee that software quality objectives are accomplished. STLC includes both validation and verification steps. Contrary to popular opinion, testing is not the only action involved in software testing. It comprises a sequence of steps taken methodically to support the certification of your software application. STLC stands for the life cycle of software testing.

software testing life cycle

Software testing life cycles (STLC) exist to validate digital products in the same way that software development life cycles (SDLC) do. To assist businesses in achieving their quality goals in a planned, documented manner, various organization members become involved at various stages.

Engineering product life cycle management

To ensure that digital products don’t have flaws that adversely influence essential functionality, QA testing has historically taken place just before product release. However, the STLC evolved as digital systems grew more complex and companies released new software and apps more frequently. Many businesses no longer hold off on testing until a product is finished developing. In order to maximize resources over the past few decades, some organizations have incorporated STLC phases before and during development, using some of the following strategies:

  • Test automation
  • Test-driven development
  • Testing with a crowd
  • Testing with a left shift
  • Testing with a right shift

An efficient STLC aids firms in making improvements that ultimately increase customer satisfaction and, consequently, more income by producing more thorough and reliable data than a conventional post-development testing stage. The STLC process ought to be less of a pre-release requirement and more of an effort to unearth significant insights that will be advantageous to the company in both the short- and long-term.

What is Software Testing Life Cycle?

6 phases in software testing life cycle

Each STLC phase contributes to high-quality software releases in its own unique way. Similarly, each stage of the STLC process has its own set of objectives and deliverables, all with the goal of catching errors and optimizing test coverage. Let’s look at 6 software testing life cycle phases in order. 

6 phases in software testing life cycle

6.1. Requirement analysis

The majority of development projects start with software requirements that outline what the client’s organization wants from the project. High-level business demands, architectural requirements that describe how the feature will be built and supported, and specific system requirements from which developers will build the product are frequently included in software requirements. Both the functional and non-functional system requirements offer opportunity for testing and validating.

In this STLC phase, testers collaborate cross-functionally and within their own teams to contextualize how they would test the program. Brainstorming meetings, locating gaps in the requirements or areas of ambiguity, and prioritizing particular evaluations are all common parts of requirement analysis.

The QA team will consult the engineering or business side to clarify and calcify a testing approach whenever there is uncertainty or a lack of requirements documentation. 

Requirement phase testing activities Requirement phase testing outputs
Determine the different sorts of tests to be run. Report on the viability of RTM automation. (If appropriate)
Obtain information on the focus and priorities of the test.
Create a matrix of requirements traceability (RTM).
Determine the specifics of the test environment where the testing is to be done.
Analyze the viability of automation (if required).

6.2. Test planning

The second STLC phase is crucial because it directs a lot of the work that comes after. When creating a written QA strategy, test planning incorporates the revelations made during requirements or product analysis.

What resources and efforts used to assess the release will be decided by the test team leadership. The test plan documentation that is produced explains to testers and other departments how the testing work will begin, keeping everyone informed. This plan is especially useful if other team members will participate in testing and bug fixing, such as developers running unit tests and creating hotfixes.

The test plan specifies the scope, objectives, types of functional and non-functional tests (both automated and human), and information about the test environments, among other aspects of the quality assurance (QA) work to be done. Test management establishes the roles and deadlines for the task when these specifics have been decided. After completing the STLC phases, the testing team can decide what deliverables to provide.

Test Planning Activities Test Planning Output 
Make a test plan or strategy document for a variety of tests Document outlining the test strategy
Choose a testing tool Estimated effort report
Estimate test effort
Analyze role, responsibility and resource planning.
Train necessary

6.3. Test case design and development

After the test strategy is complete, the Test Case Development Phase entails the design, verification, and rework of test cases and test scripts. Initially, the Test data is discovered, then prepared, examined, and reworked based on the preconditions during the software testing life cycle. The QA team then begins the process of creating test cases for specific units.

Test Case Development Activities Test Case Development Output 
Test Case Development Activities Test cases/scripts
Test Case Development Activities Data from tests
Create test cases and automation scripts (if applicable)
Review and baseline test cases and scripts
Create test data (If Test Environment is available)

6.4. Test environment setup

The test environment is where the real testing takes place. This is an important part of the software testing life cycle that can be completed concurrently with the Test Case Development Phase. Testers must have access to bug reporting capabilities as well as the application architecture to support the product. Without these things, testers may be unable to do their duties.

The Test Environment Setup determines the software and hardware conditions under which a work product is tested. If the development team provides the test environment, the test team may be excluded from this activity. The test team is required to do a readiness check (smoke testing) of the specified environment.

Test Environment Setup Activities Test Environment Setup Output 
Understand the required architecture, set up the environment, and generate a list of hardware and software requirements for the Test Environment. Smoke Test Results 
Configure the test environment and data
Run a smoke test on the structure.

6.5. Test execution

The thorough testing of the product comes next in the phases in software testing life cycle. At this stage of the STLC, testers run every test case, or as many as they can in the allocated time. A variety of functional and non-functional tests are run by QA experts and automated scripts. The testing team performs the test execution phase, during which the software build is examined using the test plans and test cases that have been created. Executing test scripts, maintaining test scripts, and reporting bugs make up the process. When bugs are discovered, the development team is notified so that the problem can be fixed and new testing can be done.

Test Execution Activities Test Execution Output 
Carry out tests as planned. RTM completed and in execution status
Record test results and flaws for cases that failed. Updated test scenarios with findings
Link test cases to problems in RTM Reports of errors
Test the corrected issues again
Follow up on the issues until they are resolved.

6.6. Test cycle closure

The Test Cycle Closure phase marks the end of the test execution and includes several tasks like test completion reporting, gathering test completion matrices, and gathering test results. Members of the testing team gather, talk about, and examine testing artifacts to determine strategies that will need to be used going forward while learning from the current test cycle. For upcoming software testing life cycle, the goal is to get rid of process bottlenecks.

Test Cycle Closure Activities Test Cycle Closure Output
Analyze the cycle completion requirements in terms of time, test coverage, cost, software, critical business objectives, and quality. The test closure report
Create test metrics based on the aforementioned criteria. Tests metrics
Keep a record of the lessons you learned from the endeavor.
Create a test closure report.
Report to the client on the work product’s quality using both qualitative and quantitative data.
Analyze test results to determine the distribution of defects by kind and severity

Entry and Exit Criteria

  • Entry Criteria: The prerequisites that must be fulfilled before testing can start are listed in the entry criteria.
  • Exit Criteria: The actions that must be taken in order for testing to be completed.

Each of these stages has clear entry and exit requirements. In the Software Testing Life Cycle, you have Entry and Exit Criteria at each step (STLC). In an ideal scenario, you wouldn’t proceed to the next stage until the exit requirements for the previous stage were satisfied. But in reality, it’s not always achievable.

Entry and Exit Criteria

As such, a thorough and professional software testing life cycle is the greatest method to instill a quality culture in your organization. The careful investigation of mistakes to eliminate flaws provides your team with a better understanding of how your program operates, which can save time when developing the next version. Finding all mistakes in a software is impractical, thus rigorous, extensive testing is the ideal goal.

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