The process of designing a digital product can be exciting, but without extensive test coverage or with poor or inconsistent software testing, you risk taking a big gamble that comes with a cycle of defects, frustrated customers and poor commercial returns.
This highlights the importance of hiring a QA team to do software testing. Testing ensures that you have the perfect app free of bugs and provides a good return on investment.
Therefore, software testing evaluates a digital product to ensure that it is functional, efficient, and secure. The goal is to find and fix any issues before they reach end users.
The 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 meets user needs.
Without proper assessment, the quality and safety of the final product would be affected. STLC is a system that you must follow when developing an application.
In this article, we will focus on the essential STLC steps. But to get started, let’s first look at the definition and what STLC entails.
How does STLC work?
STLC is a series of steps in the SDLC process designed to evaluate a product and make suggestions for improvement.
The life cycle of software consists of different stages, including requirements analysis, planning, environment design, and test execution.
Each step involves different levels and roles by the QA team following a specific STLC model (e.g. Agile method), and each member has different skills, usually defined by the Scrum Master and Product Owner.
STLC is quite similar to the stages of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle), commonly used to develop digital products.
While the SDLC primarily aims to create superior and cost-effective products, the STLC focuses on validating them.
The STLC can be divided into six main SDLC phases in software testing:
Step 1: Product Analysis
Product analysis involves evaluating the problem statement, target user needs, and business goals of the company.
The goal is to create a detailed plan that meets all objectives without compromising schedule or budget.
This step consists of asking questions, collecting information and analyzing the 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
In 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 gather key information and document it in a quality assurance strategy.
The plan should detail every step, including all possible outcomes, who will do it, and what should happen if something goes wrong during execution.
Step 3: Design and develop the test case
After the planning phase is complete, the QA team will design detailed test cases to evaluate the system on a specific feature or functionality.
These should be designed based on the needs specified in the project scope document.
For example, they are usually small pieces of code that describe how to run the test under various usage conditions.
Test cases are developed using storyboards, flowcharts, and UML diagrams. Also, they should be written in plain English so that the tester and developer can easily understand them.
It is also recommended to use the “user story” format as it makes it easier to keep track with other developers working on different parts of the app at different times.
For example, even multiple developers working together on different parts of the application at different times.
Step 4: Configure the environment
This phase ensures that the test environment is ready and includes all necessary resources.
In addition, 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 may be part of an existing development environment.
It is important that QA testers have access to the correct software testing tool and the bug reporting system, as well as the product architecture, so that they can do their job effectively.
Once all of these elements and tools are in place, testers can start running their tests against them.
Step 5: Run the test
This is where you implement your tests, run them, and analyze the results.
Executing tests is the most important phase of the software development life cycle stages, as it allows you to verify that the system or digital product is working as expected and identify any potential issues.
Tests must be carefully executed to ensure accurate results. Proper execution and analysis of tests can help ensure the quality of the product being evaluated.
At this point, the QA team will search for bugs and provide detailed reports on how the software performed against expectations.
Ultimately, to ensure that new defects do not appear, testers often retest the product as developers make fixes, using a combination of automation and manual checks.
In this way, the required coverage and speed is achieved.
Step 6: Closing the STLC
The goal of the STLC is to ensure that a product is complete and ready for release.
At this point, all testing is complete and all defects have been resolved. Final assessment activities now focus on issues encountered during regression, validation, integration, and system testing.
Therefore, the company can release the product to customers at any time during this stage.
For example, this may include post-release work such as training or assisting customers with questions about their new app or product updates.
How to make the software testing lifecycle more efficient
STLC is a complex and important process that avoids costly problems down the road. Done right, you’ll have more than just clean software; you will have a product that works properly and does not break unexpectedly.
Following certain procedures is essential to ensure an efficient and quality STLC process. These include:
- Identify project objectives to fully understand the scope of work, and plan, assign, and manage the team.
- Determine the approach that best suits your needs and the culture and structure of the organization.
- Establish a plan that will meet your goals and provide sufficient coverage.
- Set up a management structure suited to the size, needs and resources of your organization.
It’s not easy to do, but it’s much harder (and more expensive) when it’s not done at all.
So if your project budget has a little extra wiggle room, consider STLC services or QA management solutions like Aqua Cloud.
They are worth their weight in gold for many projects, especially web applications.
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