Software Testing Life Cycle: The Complete Guide to Software Testing
Nothing pulls back clients more quickly than a buggy software system. In fact, 88% of customers will dump the app (based on the QualiTest Survey). When businesses recognized the essential first-rate products, they started software testing as a component of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Since businesses know the vital role of software testing, it has been implemented throughout all digital product creation.
Now, the manner and class of program testing are evolving. Practical expertise concentrated on buildout is now a prerequisite for testers. Testing and quality assurance have a larger scale and are fundamental from the very beginning of the project, even before the specifications are defined. It is not only about discovering flaws but finding an approach to get the system improved.
Since testings are also normalized and common. Today, testing follows a lifecycle similar to that of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). The SDLC is typically an exclusive area of concentration of software development companies. However, it’s recommended for companies that refer to custom software development services or are planning it to understand what software testing is and how software testing life cycle looks like.
Differentiating STLC and SDLC
Handing over a top-notch product that conforms with the user’s wishes is the essential aim of the SDLC.
The major contrast amongst Software Testing Life Cycle and the Software Development Life Cycle is that the focus of attention of SDLC is mainly on the program establishment, whereas STLC’s focal point is releasing bug-free software.
The program’s excellence is assured throughout an operation noted as software testing life cycle (STLC). The major goal of STLC is to diagnose problems so they may be fixed and be all set for the launch date. We may consider STLC a unit of SDLC. Handing over a top-notch product that conforms with the user’s wishes is the essential aim of the SDLC.
SDLC starts once a program is made and ends once it’s worthy for publication.
The Software Testing Life Cycle: Definition
A software testing life cycle (STLC) is the operation of analyzing a computer program or mobile app to assure usability and find bugs. The aim of STLC is to ensure that the software meets the initial business and user requirements.
The software testing life cycle enables us to maintain a proper testing procedure, assuring that black box or white box tests are performed steadily. It also improves consistency in testing operations and guarantees that the number of tests done is enough to ensure the overall quality of the software. Such quality control assures that flaws and factual glitches are kept to a minimum.
How Vital Is the Software Testing Life Cycle
Software testing is a continuous process. It is a continuous procedure that aids in ensuring that your product performs as intended. Competent software quality assurance & quality control are incredibly difficult without a systematic procedure. Here’s why the STCL is important:
- Reduction in Defects: Systematic testing can uncover a significant number of defects early in the development cycle. Industry studies have shown that the cost of fixing a defect increases exponentially the later it’s discovered. IBM’s Systems Sciences Institute has estimated that the cost to fix an error found after product release is four to five times higher than one uncovered during design and up to 100 times more than one identified in the maintenance phase.
- Quality Assurance: Testing ensures that the product meets the required specifications and quality standards. According to the Capgemini World Quality Report, organizations are increasing their investment in quality assurance and testing, with spending expected to reach around 32% of the IT budget.
- Customer Satisfaction: A well-tested product leads to higher customer satisfaction. In a world where user experience is paramount, failing to meet expectations can lead to loss of customers. A report by Accenture found that nearly 61% of customers have switched companies due to poor customer service, many times related to software errors or issues.
- Legal and Regulatory Compliance: In industries like healthcare, finance, and automotive, regulatory compliance is vital. Testing ensures that the software complies with the necessary regulations, helping to avoid legal issues and fines.
- Reduction in Time-to-Market: An effective STLC can reduce the time-to-market by catching issues early and ensuring that the development cycle moves smoothly. This is supported by continuous testing practices within Agile and DevOps methodologies.
- Economic Impact: The economic consequences of software bugs can be significant. According to the Consortium for Information and Software Quality, poor software quality cost US companies $2.08 trillion in 2020.
- Security: With cybersecurity being a major concern, security testing is a vital part of the STLC. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, damages related to cybercrime are expected to reach $10,5 trillion annually by 2021, emphasizing the importance of robust security testing.
- Test Automation Trend: The growing trend towards test automation further emphasizes the importance of testing. According to a survey by the World Quality Report, 57% of test activities are expected to be automated.
The specific statistics can vary by industry, region, and over time, but these points underscore the universal importance of the software testing life cycle in delivering quality, reliable, and compliant software. Always refer to up-to-date industry reports and research to get the most current data on this subject.
STLC Development Steps
STLC has several distinctive stages. All the stages assure the excellence of the program that is developed and released with a minimal number of defects and or issues. In every phase of STLC development steps, there are entry requirements, activities, and exit requirements. To understand each of the phases, it is beneficial if you understand each of the terms.
An entry requirement is an element, steps, or documents that are needed to start the STLC phase. After all the entry requirements are completed, the PIC (person in charge) can start the activity within the phase. All the activities they have done must produce the exit requirement of the phase.
Let’s look at what all of the appropriate software testing stages entail:
Step #1 Requirement Analysis
Requirement analysis is the initial step in the computer program or mobile application testing procedure. The duties of this stage include comprehending user needs, company objectives, and projected software features. Some best practices on how to make good requirements can be found here: Tips and Tricks on Making Good Requirements. This will clarify the set of the program elements and facilitate the further bugs and glitches search.
- Requirements (technical and non-technical) must be provided for this step.
- Software’s architectural goals and specs
- Identify testing elements, functions, and features
- Define the approval criteria
- Draw a RTM (Requirement Traceability Matrix)
Step #2 Planning a Test
At the strategic planning stage, a testing methodology must be produced. A program evaluation setup is established to assure that the testing procedure can be carried out on similar issues and that the fallout is trustworthy. A test strategy helps the tester spot the program’s bugs sooner. Test plan is also produced at this stage to select the best testing methodologies that must be applied.
- Testing requirements
- RTM from the first stage
- Selecting a program’s testing framework:
- Linear Automation Framework
- Modular Based Testing Framework
- Library Architecture Testing Framework
- Data-Driven Framework
- Keyword-Driven Framework
- Hybrid Testing Framework
- Forecast the expenditure and man-hour
- Prepared a test strategy document
- Analyzing the training needs is necessary
- Establishing resource management, position, and obligation
- The test plan and strategy
- The Manager’s authorized budget and assignment records
Step #3 Test Case Development
Once all the documents from the test plan stage are given, test case development can proceed. This activity is responsible for test conditions and testing environment. Test Case Development yields test protocols, expected fallouts, and a predicted finish date for every test case. Test case Development is proceeding to assure the program fulfills the user’s needs and organizational goals.
Test Case Development can be created manually or automatically utilizing diverse test mechanisms. The non-automatic evaluation mechanisms offer versatility in testing, test, debugging, and user research. The automatic testing uses software programs that can execute testing issues on a continuous basis. The three most well-known forms of automated testing are retesting, regression testing, usability test checks, functional tests, and integrated program testing.
- Test standard documentation.
- Developing a software testing scenario.
- Reviewing the testing scenario
- Generate test data and test records.
- Testing and signing the test case/script
- Authentication and signing of test findings are required
Step #4 Test Environment Preparation
Building a test environment for the program may be done while the testing conditions are being set up. Testing conditions also set up boundaries for the test. Both white box and black box testing methodologies are allowed. Test setups may be generated for feature evaluation, performance optimization, or problem eradication. It is possible to create test conditions using both manual and automated approaches.
- Constructing scenarios from the test plan stage
- System architecture and design specifications.
- Arrange software and equipment needed for testing
- Arrange features and test ecosystems.
- Smoke test.
- Successful smoke test
- Finalized test information, test ecosystem, and test demonstration checklist
Step #5 Test Implementation
Test implementation is the last phase of the STLC. Implementing the test cases produced in the earlier steps is the responsibility of test execution. The purpose of doing tests is to determine if the product complies with both user expectations and the organization’s perspective.
Test implementation is supported by both practical evaluation and non-practical evaluation. Practional testing ascertains if the product satisfies the user’s and organization’s expectations. Non-practical testing ascertains whether the system behaves to the customer’s standards.
- A fully configured testing of the outcomes and ecosystem.
- The test design, RTM timetables, and thorough evaluation scripts
- Smoke tested and a prepared test environment
- testing record.
- completing testing activities on time.
- reporting system flaws.
- relating RTM to product flaws.
- retesting the product.
- Performing a thorough test activity
- Test reports
Step #6 Test Sequence Completion
The STLC ends with the testing sequence completion step. It entails finalizing the testing sequence and notifying the testing outcomes to the interested parties. Following the completion of the testing, the STLC is terminated. A testing sequence can be finalized manually or automatically using some special management tools.
- Final testing records.
- Issues documents.
- Creating the final testing report.
- Reviewing the current testing cycle and its impact on corporate objectives.
- Creating testing parameter matrices.
- classifying issues according to seriousness and types.
- Client’s approval.
STLC and SDLC Models
Anybody engaged in the software testing industry has to be familiar with the diverse software development models. This model defines how the software testing life cycle will look as well as the whole development process.
Any IT project must involve testing, and it is crucial to delivering a bug-free and stable product to users. Any tester’s primary goal is to identify bugs before users do. You must be knowledgeable of the various development models available and know when to employ each one to accomplish the project’s objectives.
Let’s take a look a few of the standard software development models you could encounter:
How the Agile Model Goes:
The Agile model breaks the project into small increments with minimal planning, using iterations or “sprints” that are typically 2-4 weeks long. Within these sprints, specific features are designed, developed, tested, and delivered. The Agile approach emphasizes continuous improvement, flexibility, team input, and delivering essential quality products.
The Benefits of the Agile Model:
- Encourages team collaboration and client participation
- Ensures customer satisfaction through frequent releases
- Provides the ability to adapt to changes quickly
- Enables early detection of defects
When to Use the Agile Model:
- When requirements may change or are unclear
- When continuous customer interaction and feedback are needed
- When fast delivery of high-priority features is essential
How the Waterfall Model goes:
The waterfall model is the oldest and classic model that was used before . It is a sequential method that starts with the needs analysis, followed by the requirements gathering, design, and implementation. The model also involves testing, deployment, and maintenance activities. With waterfall, these activities occur sequentially and are interdependent. This means that the progress of one activity determines the progress of the others.
The benefits of the Waterfall Model:
- Help organizations manage their software development activities and meet project goals by tracking them along the project lifecycle.
- The Waterfall model promotes a comprehensive product that meets user requirements and is free of defects.
- Streamlined development process may be efficient in some cases
- Streamlined work is easy to manage
When to use the Waterfall Model:
- When you are working on a project where the requirements are clearly defined and you know the limitations of your software.
- The waterfall model is best suited for projects where the design and technical specifications are well-defined and you can predict the outcomes.
- When you are looking for a standard approach to software development and don’t have resources to shift workflow to Agile
- When you have a limited project budget
- The waterfall model is cost-effective for projects where the budget is limited because it cuts down on time and effort that would otherwise be spent in project management.
How the Spiral Model goes:
The spiral model also has five major activities: requirements gathering, design, implementation, testing, and project management. Unlike the waterfall model, however, the spiral model is cyclical. This means that after you have completed a particular activity, you go back to the beginning and start the process again. The idea behind this is to ensure that you don’t miss out on any information from the beginning or middle of the project.
The benefits of Spiral Model
- The spiral model delivers a comprehensive product that meets user requirements and is free of defects like the waterfall model.
- Quick first release
- Requirements can be changed during the development
- Good for customer satisfaction
- Help to address risks of uncertainty
When to use the Spiral Model:
- Can be applied for complex projects with unclear requirements
- When the quality of the product is top priority
- When software must provide great security
- When the customer want to participate in the development life cycle
How the V-Model goes:
The V-model is a hybrid of the waterfall and spiral models. It combines the sequential nature of the waterfall model with the iterative nature of the spiral model to provide a more flexible approach. The V-model is a sequential model. This means that the project progresses in a linear fashion through the five activities. Unlike the waterfall model, however, the V-model allows you to go back to an earlier activity if needed. This is possible because the V-activities are independent of each other. This means that you can jump back and forth between the activities without impacting the progress of other activities.
The benefits of the V-model
- Provides a flexible approach
- The flexibility of the V-model makes it a good choice for projects that require frequent changes.
- Simple to use
When to use the V-model:
- A great choice for small and medium size projects
- When requirements are well defined
Software testing life cycle is a critical part of the software development process and can be considered as the final check to ensure that the software product meets user needs, desired features, reliability, usability, and many other parameters. A software testing life cycle provides a standard framework for developing effective software tests. Now that you understand what the software testing life cycle is, you can put the theory into practice. You can use this guide to help you understand the different types of testing and where they fit into Test-driven Development or any other process you may use when creating apps.
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