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What is the software testing life cycle? Steps of STLC

Following certain procedures is essential to ensuring a quality and efficient STLC process.

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Image: Unsplash

The process of designing a digital product can be exciting, but without extensive testing coverage or with poor or inconsistent software testing, you may be taking a big gamble that comes with a cycle of defects, frustrated customers, and poor business returns 

This underlines the importance of hiring a QA team to do software testing. Testing ensures you have the perfect app with no bugs and delivers a good investment return.  

Therefore, software testing evaluates a digital product to ensure it is functional, efficient, and secure. The goal is to find and fix any glitch before it gets to the final users.

Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a key part of product design. At its core, it’s an iterative process created to ensure the product satisfies user needs.

Without a good evaluation, the quality and security of the final product would be affected. STLC is a system that you need to follow when you are developing an app. 

In this post, we’ll focus on essential STLC steps.  But to begin, let’s first look at the definition and what STLC entails. 

How does STLC work?

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STLC is a series of steps in the SDLC process designed to evaluate a product and make suggestions for improvement.

There are various stages of the software life cycle, including requirement analysis, planning, environment design, and test execution.

Each stage involves different levels and roles by the QA team following a specific STLC model (For example, the Agile method), and each member has different skillsets., typically laid out by the Scrum Master and Product Owner. 

STLC is quite similar to steps in the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), popularly used for developing digital products.

While the SDLC is primarily aimed at creating top-quality and cost-efficient products, STLC focuses on validating them.

The STLC can be split into six main SDLC phases in software testing:

Step 1: Product analysis

Product Analysis involves evaluating the problem statement, target user needs, and the company’s business objectives.

The objective is to create a detailed plan that meets all objectives without jeopardizing the schedule or budget.

This stage involves asking questions, collecting information, and analyzing results.

You need to gather information about what you want the product to do, who will use it, and how they will use it. 

Step 2: Planning

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At this phase, you determine what needs to be evaluated, why, and how it will be done.

The planning stage will guide many subsequent tasks as you put together key insights and document them into a QA strategy.

The plan should detail each step, including all possible outcomes, who will do it, and what should happen if something doesn’t work right at execution.

Step 3: Design and development of the test case

With the planning phase concluded, the QA team will design detailed test cases to evaluate the system on specific functionality or feature. 

These should be designed based on the needs specified in the project scope document.

For example, these are usually small pieces of code that describe how to execute the test under various conditions of use. 

Test cases are developed using storyboards, flow charts, and UML diagrams. Furthermore, they should be written in plain English so the tester and developer can easily understand them. 

It is also recommended to use the “user story” format as it makes it easy to follow along with other developers working on different application parts at different times.

For instance, even multiple developers working together on different application parts at different times.

Step 4: Setting up the environment 

This phase ensures the test environment is ready and includes all the necessary resources.

Moreover, It consists of creating and configuring the hardware, software, and network components used to evaluate the product.

Therefore, the test environment may be in a separate physical location from where the production code is being developed, or it can be part of an existing development environment.

It is important that QA testers have access to the right software test tool and bug reporting system, as well as the product architecture, so they can do their jobs effectively.

Once all these pieces and tools are in place, testers can begin running their tests against them.

Step 5: Executing the test

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This is where you implement your tests, run them and analyze the results.

Test execution is the most important phase of the steps in the software development life cycle, as it allows you to verify that the system or digital product works as expected and identify any potential issues. 

The tests must be thoroughly executed to ensure accurate results. Proper execution and analysis of the tests can help to ensure the quality of the product being evaluated.

At this stage, the QA team will look out for bugs and provide detailed reports on the software performance vis-a-vis the expectations.

Ultimately, to ensure new defects don’t appear, testers often retest the product as developers make fixes, using a combination of automation and manual checks.

In this way, coverage and the required velocity are achieved.

Step 6: Closing the STLC

The purpose of the STLC is to ensure that a product is complete and ready for release.

In this stage, all tests have been completed, and all defects have been resolved. The final evaluation activities now focus on issues found during regression, validation, integration, and system tests.

Therefore, the company may release the product to customers anytime during this stage.

For example, it may include post-release work such as training or providing support for customers with questions about their new application or product updates.

How to make software testing life cycle more efficient

STLC is a complex and important process that prevents costly problems down the road. When done right, you’ll have more than just clean software; you’ll have a properly functioning product that doesn’t break unexpectedly. 

Following certain procedures is essential to ensuring a quality and efficient STLC process. These include: 

  • Identify the project’s objectives to clearly understand the scope of work, and plan, assign and manage the team.
  • Determine the approach best suits your requirements and the organization’s culture and structure.
  • Establish a plan that will meet your objectives and provide sufficient coverage.
  • Implement a management structure appropriate for your organization’s size, needs, and resources.

It’s not easy to do, but it’s much harder (and more costly) when it’s not done at all.

So if your project budget has a little extra wiggle room, don’t forget about STLC services or QA management solutions like Aqua Cloud.

They’re worth their weight in gold for many projects, especially web apps.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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