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Software Testing Life Cycle

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What is the Software Testing Life Cycle? A Complete Guide to STLC phases

What is the Software Testing Life Cycle?

  • Software testing life cycle is a testing methodology
  • STLC has different phases that are executed in sequence to ensure the quality of the software.
  • Software testing life cycles are a series of steps that helps to assess the system’s current state and make suggestions for improvements.
  • STLC started evaluating the software product from the early stage of the software development.
  • The STLC can be repeated multiple times during product development until the product is ready for release. 
  • Each phase of the STLC consists of a specific action. Every phase is essential to the project’s success, ensuring that the end product meets its quality and performance goals.

STLC Phases – In-depth Overview

Software Testing Life Cycle has six phases. Each phase is separated by specific entry and exit criteria and associated activities and deliverables. The entry and exit criteria determine when a phase can begin and endActivities and deliverables determine what actions will be taken and the expected result

Several phases can be accomplished simultaneously, but others must be completed sequentially.

Testers go through the following phases.

  1. Requirement Analysis
  2. Test Planning
  3. Test Case design and Development
  4. Test Environment Setup
  5. Test Execution
  6. Test Cycle Closure

1- Requirement Analysis

This phase evaluates feature requirements from software requirement documents collected during the Software Development Life Cycle SDLC process to determine testable elements. 

Testing teams might need to meet with stakeholders to clarify requirements

These requirements can be either functional or non-functional and define what a feature can do or its characteristics. This phase will help you understand the ideal product state

  • This phase produces deliverables such as Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM)
  • Software testing requires that you trace all testing activities back to the original requirements.
  • Analysis of test automation feasibility
  •  It will reduce effort and ensure that each testing activity is linked to a customer requirement.
  • During this phase, you will also evaluate the ability to automate tests.

2- Test Planning

The insights gained during product analysis or requirements are used to prepare test plansThe test plan document is prepared in this phase.

These insights can then be turned into a documented  QA strategy and effort estimations

The QA Manager of the test team determines how much resources and effort will be required to evaluate the release. 

Documentation of the test plan informs testers and other departments about the beginning of testing. It keeps everyone on the same page. 

3- Test Case Design and Development

Test case design and development is an important process in software testing. In this Phase of the STLC testers can begin to create and write detailed test cases.

It is important to collect all possible combinations for test cases and test data.

The test cases should be comprehensive and cover all possible cases.

Test cases help testers to identify the specific tests cases they need to run to verify the particular functionality of a software system.

This phase also involves defining test conditions and their expected outcomes. The main deliverables of this phase include the test cases organized within their test suites.

  • Test cases document
  • Test data and condition


4- Test Environment Setup

The testing environment setup phase describes what software and hardware (devices) are required for testing.

The testing environment is the place before the actual testing takes place.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that your environment includes all environments the user might use.

It is a vital phase of STLC.

5- Test Execution 

In this phase of the software testing lifecycle testers will execute test cases. The testers also detect and log defects. It allows them to report the bugs.

This team is responsible for comparing the actual outcome with the expected results. Identified bugs reported to the development team to fix them. Testers frequently retest the product after developers have made fixes to ensure that new defects do not occur

6- Test Cycle Closure

The final STLC phase is the test cycle closure. In this report, the testing team summarizes and communicates their findings to the rest. This report usually includes a summary of testing results and work and an assessment of testing and approval from the manager. Testers should meet together to discuss the results of testing. You can discuss any issues encountered during testing or flaws in your strategies here. Based on your testing results, you can discuss ways to improve the testing process. Additional perspectives may uncover a quality issue, cost issue, or coverage that was not being addressed by the rest of the group. These conversations can lead to additional analysis and help improve QA work.

Importance of Software Testing Life Cycle

  • The software testing life cycle aims to find and fix mistakes and ensure that the final product meets its requirements
  • Software Testing Life Cycle helps to ensure that the software that is released is error-free.
  • Software testing life cycle plays a significant role in ensuring that software is of the highest quality
  • STLC includes both validation and verification activities.
  • Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC), a strategy for testing software, can help you meet software quality standards
  • STLC requires systematic testing that is done in phases.  

Step-by-Step STLC Phases with Exit and Entry Criteria


STLC Phases Entry Criteria Exit Criteria
Requirement Analysis Software Requirement Document Requirement Traceability Matrix
Test Planning Requirements documents and Requirement traceability matrix Test Plan and Test Strategy


Test Case Design Requirement Traceability Matrix

Test Plan and Test Strategy


Well defined Test Cases document prepared that includes Test data, Expected and Actual result
Test Environment setup The environment set-up plan can be found
Test Execution Test environment setupTest cases document Completed RTM with execution status

Test cases updated with results

Defect reports

Test Cycle closure Test results are now available Test closure report