In order to make sure software behaves according to expectations tests must be performed based on customer requirements. This is done via the STLC or Software Testing Life Cycle.

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

The software development life cycle directly influences the software testing process. The cycle contains 5 distinct steps:

  • Requirements analysis
  • Design process
  • Development
  • Testing process and debugging
  • Operation and maintenance

As indicated there is a specific testing stage but finding bugs early reduces the cost to fix them so testing should start as far back as the requirements stage. Here is a brief overview of how testing can be incorporated into each stage.

Requirements Analysis

This first phase deals with customer requirements both functional or non-functional and are ascertained by direct communication with the customer. Bug fixing at this stage is involved with looking at the requirements and project documentation. Making sure everything is complete, consistent and clear means the initial goal setting for testing is likely to be more accurate.

Design Process

At stage two the testing looks at checking the prototypes against requirements. Usability should also be checked – things like creating test plans, use cases and other documentation occur at this stage in order to look at how the product meets requirements. It helps to provide the team with a clear idea of where the product needs to go to reach expectations.

Development Phase

At the beginning of this stage module integration is tested. Several modules are combined and their ability to function as part of the application are looked at. Later more modules are brought online. Once this is done system testing occurs to find out how well each module functions. GUI testing is also done at this time.

Testing Process/ Debugging Phase

This step incorporates all of the previous tests as well as regression testing and general quality assessment. Once any issues are debugged QA should be done. Once the final round testing is done the software testing process is complete.

Operation and Maintenance Phase

Operation and maintenance means continuation of testing to ascertain how well the product works for different users in various environments. It is possible that some new defects may emerge or that users’ interactions may impact the product causing unforeseen errors which must be resolved.

In summary, software testing is part of every stage of the software development life cycle in order to compare the actual product with the planned project. Interim documentations and deliverables are included and future planning and alternation of activities can be ascertained, analysed and tested. Software testing is something that is essential and ongoing and the QA team must have the experience to perform all the tests required.

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