Software Testing Life Cycle: how to manage projects!
With ever-more sophisticated methodologies being deployed throughout the software testing industry to ensure quality in the end-product, it’s more important then ever to be well organised.
Presently, a prodigious evolution in the software testing industry can be seen where ever more sophisticated methodologies are deployed to ensure the efficiency of the software delivered. Certainly, it’s essential to make such applications that run without any failures. However, testing software is not just a single task carried out to confirm the built product; instead, it involves a series of steps followed throughout the testing lifecycle.
Basically, a software testing life cycle or STLC comprises of all the activities performed to test a particular software application. With this, the functionality of different software modules is tested and validated to find any bugs present in it. The developed software is checked to ensure whether it qualifies the particular requirements and to identify any faults so as to deliver a quality product free from any issues.
Thus, the process of attesting and authenticating a software product is known as software testing. Things which are considered to ensure the validation of a product include whether the end product meets the business requirements that led to its development and design or whether it can be employed with similar characteristics.
What is the Software Testing Life Cycle?
Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) describes a sequence of activities followed in executing the process of software testing. It describes which test activities to perform and when to accomplish the same. During the STLC process, each step is conducted systematically, and each stage of the cycle has different objectives and outputs.
The various stages of software testing life cycle include:
- requirement analysis
- test planning
- test case development
- environment setup
- test execution
- test cycle closure
The phases of the STLC
Requirement analysis is the initial phase of the software testing life cycle (STLC). In the course of this phase, the QA team tries to understand the requirements related to testing the product that is they will work out to identify the testable requirements.
In case of any doubts or conflicts, the testing team may interact with various stakeholders such as client, business analyst, technical lead, technical manager, or system architects, so as to understand the requirements in detail. This will help them to know the exact requirements needed.
There are different requirements which include four main areas:
- Business requirements: These are advanced requirements which are taken from the business use case from the projects
- Architectural & design requirements: These are a set of comprehensive requirements which are more explanatory than business requirements. It defines the complete design essential to implement the business requirement
- System & integration requirements: These are intricate descriptions of all the requirements. It can be in the shape of user stories which defines average business language. The requirements include rich details to help developers understand the idea
- Entry criteria: The entry criteria defines the prerequisites that must be accomplished prior testing begins. The entry criteria for this phase include business requirement specification and application architectural.
- Find types of tests that need to be conducted
- Make a list of all the types of tests required to perform such as functional or performance
- Formulate requirement traceability matrix (RTM) and categorise test environment facts where testing is to be conducted
- Perform feasibility analysis if needed.
- List of all the queries answered for identifying testable requirements and Automation feasibility report.
The most crucial phase of software testing life cycle test planning. It includes all the strategies followed in software testing. In this test strategy phase, the test manager identifies the effort and evaluates cost required for the complete project. It basically outlines the goal and scope of the project.
Normally, testing is of following types:
- Unit test
- API testing
- Integration test
- System test
- Install/uninstall testing
- Agile testing.
- Updated version of requirements documents and automation feasibility document.
- Define a strategy document for several types of testing required
- Selection of testing tools needed and test effort estimation
- Define the overview of the testing process
- Formulating the roles and responsibilities and doing resource planning
- Determine and define any risks involved.
- It includes a test plan, strategy and test effort estimation report.
Test Case development
Once the test planning phase is finished, test development and design begin. In this particular phase, the QA testing team records the test cases in detail. Not only test cases are defined, but the QA team also formulates the test data for testing purposes.
After the preparation of the test cases, the QA lead will review all these to identify any drawbacks. It is essential to formulate a good test case that has the potential to handle the defects effectively and covers most of the modules of the system under testing.
So, if you want to prepare a good test case, you can consider the following things:
- The test case you formulate must be simple and transparent
- It is essential to consider end-user requirements before formulating
- Repetition should be avoided as much as possible
- Assumptions regarding the functionality and features of the software application should not be made
- Ensure all the business and software requirements
- Test case IDs should be labelled as they can be easily identified in the course of tracking defects
- Testing techniques should be implemented efficiently
- You should expect the same results every time from the test case
- Your fellows should be capable of discovering faults in your test case design.
- The same goes with the testing design phase where entry criteria consist of the updated version requirements documents and the automation feasibility report.
- Planning of test cases
- Formulation of test automation scripts in case needed.
- The deliverables include test cases, test data, and automation scripts.
Test Environment set-up
This phase is an important part of the STLC process which defines the software and hardware conditions under which the software product is tested. This is one of the most serious phases of the testing cycle and can be performed independently or in parallel with the test case design and development stage.
In case if the development team has provided the test environment, the test team will do a quick check or perform smoke testing of the provided environment.
This phase involves setting up of different areas such as:
- Test server setup: it’s not mandatory that every test is to be performed on a local machine. It may require setting up a test server, which can run different applications
- Network setup: network needs to be established as per the requirements
- Setting up test PC: setting up of different browsers for different testers is essential
- Tools used for bug reporting must be delivered to the testers
- Formulation of test data for test environment: many firms tend to use distinct test environment for testing the software product. Normally, a common methodology used is to duplicate production data for testing.
- The entry docs for this phase include test plan, smoke test cases, and test data.
- Initially, requirements need to be examined, and a list of software & hardware required to set up the test environment is prepared
- Creation of the test environment
- After the setting up of test environment, smoke test cases need to be executed to check the promptness of the test environment.
- Test environment along with the test data and smoke test cases results.
Test execution can be started right after the preparation of test development and design and setting up of the test environment. The QA team begins executing the test cases according to the test plans and test cases formulated in the previous steps.
The test case which is passed is labelled as a passed test case. If in case some test case fails then the identified defect is conveyed to the developer team employing a bug tracking system and the bug is sent for further examination. Preferably, every test case that fails should be linked to at least one single bug. With the help of this association, we can catch the failed test case with bug linked to it. After the bug is removed by the development team, the same test case is executed on the basis of your test planning.
If due to some defects, the test case gets blocked then such test cases are labelled as blocked. This is done to get the appropriate report regarding how many test cases are passed, failed, or blocked. After the defects are fixed, those failed or blocked test cases can be again run to re-test the functionality.
- It includes the test plan or test strategy document, test cases, and test data.
- Status of the test cases needs to be marked such as passed, failed, blocked, and not run
- Allocate bug ID to all the failed and blocked test cases
- After the defects are fixed or removed, retesting needs to be performed
- Track the failings to closure.
- Execution report of test cases and defect reports.
Test Cycle closure
This is the final phase of the software testing life cycle. It includes testing team member meeting and assessing cycle completion standards on the basis of test coverage, cost, quality, time, crucial business goals, and software.
Once the exit criteria and testing phase are finished, the test lead publishes a test report which includes following things in a standard format such as test summary report, identifier, test summary, variances, comprehensiveness assessment, summary of results, evaluation, summary of activities, and approval.
Test Closure stages
Test closure phase is executed with the help of six essential stages as follows:
- Verify the planned deliverable: the testing team will analyse and verify the planned deliverables which will be provided to the stakeholder
- Shut down the incident reports: the team verifies that the planned deliverables are provided and authenticates that all the cases are resolved before the termination of the process
- Transfer to the maintenance team: after all the incidents are resolved and the incident report is closed, the test-wares are then transferred to the maintenance team
- Conclude and store the test-ware or environment: this includes concluding and archiving test-ware and software like test environment, test scripts, or test infrastructure, etc.
- Document system approval: this comprises of system authentication and validation as per the outlined strategy
- Evaluate the best practices: this stage involves formulating various changes needed for similar projects and their proclamation.
- It includes the test case execution report and defect report.
- Examine cycle completion criteria on the basis of test coverage, quality, cost, time, important business goals, and software prepare test metrics pertaining to the above parameters
- Formulation of a test closure report. Outlining best practices for any alike projects yet to come.
- Test metrics and test closure reports.
All stages of the software development life cycle are crucial for the software testing management process. It suggests an assessment between the real status of the product and the one that was intended and documented in the project test plan. Formulation of temporary documentation and outputs is also involved in this procedure.
The process of testing, examination, and monitoring helps to design and modify future activities correctly. Thus, the software testing life cycle is a methodology that cannot be avoided if you want to deliver quality products. It requires an experienced testing team which has the potential to conduct different types of testing.
This vital stage of software development helps the client, team, and end-user to receive high-quality stuff.
Kanika Vatsyayan, VP Strategies, BugRaptors