Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC)

What is the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC)?

Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a sequence of specific activities conducted during testing to ensure software quality goals are met. STLC involves both verification and validation activities. Contrary to popular belief, Software Testing is not just a single/isolated activity, i.e., testing. It consists of a series of activities carried out methodologically to help certify your software product. STLC stands for Software Testing Life Cycle.

STLC Model Phases

  1. Requirement Analysis
  2. Test Planning
  3. Test case development
  4. Test Environment setup
  5. Test Execution
  6. Test Cycle closure

Requirement Phase Testing

Requirement Phase Testing, also known as Requirement Analysis, in which the 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

  • RTM
  • Automation feasibility report.

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 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

  • Test plan/strategy document.
  • Effort estimation document.

Test Case Development Phase

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, created, reviewed, and reworked based on the preconditions. Then, the QA team starts developing 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 a Test Environment is available).

Deliverables of Test Case Development

  • Test cases/scripts
  • Test data

Test Environment Setup

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. The test team may not be involved in this activity if the development team provides the test environment. The test team must do a readiness check (smoke testing) of the given environment.

Test Environment Setup Activities

  • Understand the required architecture environment setup and prepare hardware and software requirement list for the Test Environment.
  • Setup test Environment and test data
  • Perform a smoke test on the build.

Deliverables of Test Environment Setup

  • Environment ready with test data set up
  • Smoke Test Results.

Test Execution Phase

The 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, maintenance, and bug reporting. If bugs are reported, they are reverted to the development team for correction, and retesting will be performed.

Test Execution Activities

  • Execute tests as per the 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

The test Cycle Closure phase completes test execution, which involves 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 the future, taking lessons from the 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 of the project
  • Prepare Test closure report
  • Qualitative and quantitative reporting of the 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

In this Software Testing Tutorial, we will learn about the software testing life cycle or STLC. Software Testing Lifecycle is the process testing team follows to test the software applications and streamline testing process.

STLC is part of Software Development Life Cycle and is relevant to any development methodology you follow.