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Software testing lifecycle

Testing is an integral part of the software development lifecycle, helping DevOps teams deliver higher quality software faster. By eliminating or minimizing bugs and improving the user experience, superior software testing ensures that applications meet requirements and expectations while helping development teams accelerate delivery. The software testing lifecycle is a framework that helps teams manage testing more effectively, efficiently, and confidently.

What is the software testing lifecycle?

The software testing lifecycle (STLC) is a framework for managing the specific tasks involved in testing applications. The STLC is a key part of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and is conducted in parallel to development. During the STLC, testers will validate the functionality of the software against requirements, look for defects in applications, and evaluate the quality of the user experience.

To better organize testing, minimize error, and increase efficiency in the process, the software testing lifecycle is broken down into a series of steps or phases that QA and DevOps teams can implement, relying on best practices to manage testing in a thorough, systematic, and productive fashion.

6 phases of stlc

The 6 phases of the STLC

  1. Requirement analysis. During this phase, QA teams collect and document requirements for the software, identify aspects or functionality that can be tested, and determine whether those tests should be manual or automated. Requirements can be functional, relating to specific functions and capabilities, or they can be non-functional, relating to the quality of the user experience and general performance of the application.
  2. Test planning. When planning tests, test managers develop a strategy that documents the steps to be taken, the tools required, and the responsibilities of various people involved in development and testing.
  3. Test case design and development. During this part of the software testing lifecycle, test cases are created by defining test inputs, procedures, conditions of testing, and the expected results. Ideally, test cases aim for 100% test coverage, ensuring that every aspect of the code and its functionality will be covered by the test cases.
  4. Test environment setup. The next step in the testing lifecycle is to configure and deploy testing environments – the actual settings where tests will occur. Test environments include hardware, software, frameworks, configurations, networks, and test data, as well as a variety of testing tools.
  5. Test execution. During execution, tests cases are run within the test environment, and testers compare actual results to expected results. Findings are documented for reporting back to development teams.
  6. Test cycle closure. Reports document the steps taken in the testing process and the results or findings of tests, including any defects that were discovered in the process. Reports compare the results of tests to the software requirements identified in the initial phase of testing.

Benefits of implementing a software testing lifecycle framework

By adopting the process and best practices of the software testing lifecycle, QA and DevOps teams can achieve several key benefits.

  • Identify and remove bugs. Testing is designed to find and address defects in the software as early as possible, when they are easiest and least costly to fix.
  • Increase transparency. By strictly adhering to the structure of the testing lifecycle, teams can achieve greater transparency in the development process, helping to improve the quality and reduce the costs of preparing applications for release.
  • Improve quality control. The software testing lifecycle is designed to improve both the technical quality of the application as well as the user experience.
  • Enhance consistency. Conforming to the practices of the software testing lifecycle enables teams to create a more consistent process for developing and evaluating software, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing quality.
  • Increase confidence. The STLC enables teams to test software methodically at each stage of development, improving the confidence in each feature before additional functions are added.

Manage the software testing lifecycle with Tricentis qTest

Tricentis offers a fundamentally different way to approach software testing. With solutions that are totally automated, fully codeless, and intelligently driven by AI, Tricentis helps to accelerate digital transformation, application delivery, and cloud migration.

Tricentis offers a solution for unified test management in Tricentis qTest. Providing centralized management and visibility into activities in the software testing lifecycle, qTest helps to unify, manage, and rapidly scale testing across the enterprise to help ship releases faster with less risk.

Features of Tricentis qTest include:

  • Test case management tools that simplify planning and organization of testing activities through every part of the development lifecycle
  • Centralized test automation for managing both open source frameworks and commercial test automation tools
  • Ability to build and customize DevOps workflows that streamline test orchestration, automation, and communication
  • Exploratory testing tools that track all interactions from the testing session and automatically create defect documentation
  • Customizable, shareable analytics and reporting across different projects and teams

Along with a test management tool, Tricentis offers a suite of products for intelligent test automation as well as black box testing, white box testing, performance testing, data integrity testing, chaos engineering, service virtualization, and more.

FAQs

What is software testing?

Software testing is the practice of evaluating the performance and functionality of an application to ensure that the software meets requirements and works as expected. Software tests are designed to find and fix bugs within the software and to ensure that the software delivers a positive user experience.

What is the software testing lifecycle?

The software testing lifecycle is a series of testing activities that development and quality assurance teams rely on to evaluate the performance and functionality of an application. The stages of a standard software development lifecycle include requirement analysis, test planning, test case design, test environment setup, test execution, and test cycle closure.

What is the software development lifecycle vs. the software testing lifecycle

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is a series of steps involved in building an application, from gathering requirements and designing the structure of the software, to writing code and deploying the application. The software testing lifecycle is closely related to and integrated with the software development lifecycle, but is focused on the stages of designing and executing tests to validate the functionality and performance of an application.

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