Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a systematic approach that ensures the quality and reliability of software applications. By following a structured set of steps, software testers can identify and rectify defects, validate functionality, and ensure a smooth user experience. In this article, we will delve into the six crucial steps of the Software Testing Life Cycle, providing insights into each stage’s significance and the benefits it brings to the overall software development process. Let’s explore these steps and understand how they contribute to delivering high-quality software to end-users.
What is Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC)?
The Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a well-defined series of activities that are carried out throughout the testing process to ensure the software meets the desired quality objectives. STLC encompasses both verification and validation tasks. Contrary to common misconception, software testing is not limited to a single, isolated activity. Instead, it involves a systematic execution of multiple activities aimed at certifying the software product. Therefore, STLC, which stands for Software Testing Life Cycle, plays a crucial role in ensuring software quality.
6 Phases of Software Testing Life Cycle
Requirement Phase Testing
Requirement Phase Testing also known as Requirement Analysis in which test team studies the requirements from a testing point of view to identify testable requirements and the QA team may interact with various stakeholders to understand requirements in detail. Requirements could be either functional or non-functional. Automation feasibility for the testing project is also done in this stage.
Activities in Requirement Phase Testing
- Identify types of tests to be performed.
- Gather details about testing priorities and focus.
- Prepare Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM).
- Identify test environment details where testing is supposed to be carried out.
- Automation feasibility analysis (if required).
Deliverables of Requirement Phase Testing
- Automation feasibility report. (if applicable)
Test Planning in STLC
Test Planning in STLC is a phase in which a Senior QA manager determines the test plan strategy along with efforts and cost estimates for the project. Moreover, the resources, test environment, test limitations and the testing schedule are also determined. The Test Plan gets prepared and finalized in the same phase.
Test Planning Activities
- Preparation of test plan/strategy document for various types of testing
- Test tool selection
- Test effort estimation
- Resource planning and determining roles and responsibilities.
- Training requirement
Deliverables of Test Planning
The Test Case Development Phase involves the creation, verification and rework of test cases & test scripts after the test plan is ready. Initially, the Test data is identified then created and reviewed and then reworked based on the preconditions. Then the QA team starts the development process of test cases for individual units.
Test Case Development Activities
- Create test cases, automation scripts (if applicable)
- Review and baseline test cases and scripts
- Create test data (If Test Environment is available)
Deliverables of Test Case Development
- Test cases/scripts
- Test data
Test Environment Setup decides the software and hardware conditions under which a work product is tested. It is one of the critical aspects of the testing process and can be done in parallel with the Test Case Development Phase. Test team may not be involved in this activity if the development team provides the test environment. The test team is required to do a readiness check (smoke testing) of the given environment.
Test Environment Setup Activities
- Understand the required architecture, environment set-up and prepare hardware and software requirement list for the Test Environment.
- Setup test Environment and test data
- Perform smoke test on the build
Deliverables of Test Environment Setup
- Environment ready with test data set up
- Smoke Test Results.
Test Execution Phase is carried out by the testers in which testing of the software build is done based on test plans and test cases prepared. The process consists of test script execution, test script maintenance and bug reporting. If bugs are reported then it is reverted back to development team for correction and retesting will be performed.
Test Execution Activities
- Execute tests as per plan
- Document test results, and log defects for failed cases
- Map defects to test cases in RTM
- Retest the Defect fixes
- Track the defects to closure
Deliverables of Test Execution
- Completed RTM with the execution status
- Test cases updated with results
- Defect reports
Test Cycle Closure
Test Cycle Closure phase is completion of test execution which involves several activities like test completion reporting, collection of test completion matrices and test results. Testing team members meet, discuss and analyze testing artifacts to identify strategies that have to be implemented in future, taking lessons from current test cycle. The idea is to remove process bottlenecks for future test cycles.
Test Cycle Closure Activities
- Evaluate cycle completion criteria based on Time, Test coverage, Cost,Software, Critical Business Objectives, Quality
- Prepare test metrics based on the above parameters.
- Document the learning out of the project
- Prepare Test closure report
- Qualitative and quantitative reporting of quality of the work product to the customer.
- Test result analysis to find out the defect distribution by type and severity.
Deliverables of Test Cycle Closure
- Test Closure report
- Test metrics
The six steps of the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) play a pivotal role in ensuring the quality, stability, and reliability of software applications. From understanding requirements to executing tests, each phase holds its importance in the overall testing process. By following a well-defined STLC, software testers can detect defects early, ensure functionality meets expectations, and deliver a superior user experience. Remember, a robust testing approach not only instills confidence in end-users but also saves time and resources by catching issues before they reach production. So, embrace the Software Testing Life Cycle and pave the way for exceptional software that stands the test of time.
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