7 Stages of Testing Life Cycle

TestFortExpert by TestFortExpert on 11/18/2022

7 Stages of Testing Life Cycle

Being an integral part of software development process, testing is carried out to ensure that the developed software works well with meeting all user’s requirements and needs. There are a lot of methods of testing which may vary greatly depending on the specific features of the software and the development process.

As any other complex process, software testing consists of different test stages, and each of them is represented by a specific range of activities. Unlike the types of testing or methodologies, its stages remain quite the same for any project and include 7 activities.

So what are the typical stages of testing life cycle? Let’s look at the different stages of testing in detail.

Testing Stage 1 – Test Plan

Software testing should always begin with establishing a well-thought-out test plan to ensure an efficient execution of the entire testing process. An efficient test plan must include clauses concerning the amount of work to be done, deadlines and milestones to be met, methods of testing, and other formalities like contingencies and risks.

Deliverable: A document outlining the testing strategy, including the people involved, the scope of testing, and the subsequent phases of testing the project will follow.

Testing Stage 2 – Analysis

At this stage, a functional validation matrix is made. The in-house or outsourced testing team analyzes the requirements and test cases that are to be automated and which one need to be tested manually. Like all other different stages of testing, this one has a crucial effect on the outcome of the project and therefore needs a lot of attention.

Deliverable: A list of testable requirements and the required types and stages of testing needed to complete the project and ensure deeper coverage; a requirement traceability matrix.

Testing Stage 3 – Design

If the testing team has reached this stage, it means that there is no confusion or misunderstanding concerning the test plan, validation matrix, or test cases. At the Designing step of the software testing stages, the testing team makes suitable scripts for automated test cases and generates test data for both automated and manual test cases.

Deliverable: A document containing the test data for manual and automated testing that is relevant to the software product being tested.

Testing Stage 4  – Development

At this stage, scripting is provided. In particular cases, development stage also includes unit tests and generating of performance and stress test plans. Usually it happens when testing starts together with the software development process. The team will also create a testing environment at this testing phase.

Deliverable: A list of hardware and software requirements making up the test environment for the project.

Testing Stage 5 – Execution

As soon as the entire scripting has been made, its execution begins. First, the testing team executes unit tests, and then functionality tests. They identify bugs on the superficial level and report them to the software developers. After that, detailed testing is carried out. The execution part of the test stages is completed when test and bug reports are made up.

Deliverables: Execution report & defect report.

Testing Stage 6 – Bug fixing

When the testing team identifies the bugs, they send it to development team. If the development team considers fixing the bugs, the testing team has to retest the software in order to check that no new bugs have been created while fixing using, among other things, regression testing.

Deliverable: Incident report.

Testing Stage 7 – Software is implemented

This is the final one of the testing stages and takes place all test cases are executed and all procedures are carried out. The software is delivered to the end user who tests it and reports if any bugs take place.

Deliverable: Test summary report & test closure report.

How does Agile impact the stages of software testing?

The software testing stages described above are best suited for project methodologies based the sequential approach to building and testing software, such as Waterfall. However, as one of the most popular methodologies of the past few years, Agile calls for the standard test life cycle to be upgraded to better fit its needs.

The most significant change Agile introduces to the stages of testing is the increased emphasis on the shift-left and shift-right concepts of quality assurance. Under the shift-left approach, the principal testing activities happen in the production environment, where the team can see what the application behaves like in real-life conditions. 

At the same time, the shift-right approach looks at the big picture with the help of user testing and exploratory testing, identifying the bugs that were missed at the previous stages and levels of testing. Implementing both of these techniques under Agile will inevitably lead to a change in the traditional sequence of test stages.

Another instance where Agile’s impact can be witnessed in the software testing process is the nearly eliminated need for reports detailing everything that has been done during testing — to avoid spending unnecessary time on making the assessment of the work, the team may simply approve the product for implementation.

Best practices to improve your software testing process

Going through each phase of testing at exactly the right time is one of the ways to make your software testing process more efficient. However, that’s not all. If you want to reach new heights in terms of quality of your software, here are some industry best practices for you to consider:

  1. Put the end user at the heart of your testing process. That includes making sure that all user requirements are present in the software and that the results of testing positively impact user experience.
  2. Create a routine to collect and analyze user feedback — since even the most sophisticated testing routine cannot substitute a real user interacting with the product, honest feedback is essential for improving software quality.
  3. Introduce a better bug reporting system. The purpose of bug reporting is to get rid of software defects, but the faster it happens, the better. QAs need to provide enough details about the bug with screenshots, as well as steps to reproduce the bug and possible solutions based on their experience.
  4. Use real devices for testing. As the amount of consumer electronics is increasing year after year, it can be challenging to test on all possible combinations of hardware, operating systems, and software. However, real devices always produce better results than simulators.
  5. Think about adding automation to the mix. While software testing projects have been known to thrive on manual testing alone, automation can take your product to the new quality level with a reasonable investment of your resources.

To sum up

The stages of the software testing life cycle, also known as software testing stages, are one of the first things a prospective QA engineer learns when mastering the craft of testing. These testing stages are universally applicable and compatible with nearly every project methodology and scope. That is why this is essential knowledge for anyone related to the software development and testing process, whether a developer, QA engineer, project manager, or business owner.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the stages of the testing process?

According to the test life cycle we follow in our company, the seven stages of testing include test plan, test analysis, test design, test case development, test execution, bug fixing, and software implementation.

What is the sequence of testing normally done in a project?

The sequence of test stages used on a software testing project must follow the logical sequence of how software is created and how it should be managed before it’s finally released. At first, the team analyzes the project and plans the work ahead. Then, the test cases are created and executed, with a subsequent analysis of the results. Finally, together with the development team, the QAs oversee the bug fixing process, and software is implemented at last.

What are the 7 steps of software testing?

The 7 phases of the STLC include creating a test plan, performing the analysis of the software, designing the test cases, developing the tests for more comprehensive coverage, executing the tests and reviewing the results, participating in the bug fixing process, and overseeing the implementation of the software.

How many stages are involved in testing?

There are different approaches to distinguishing between different stages of testing. Some QA engineers say there are 4, others are convinced that there are 5, and we, together with many esteemed professionals, believe that there are 7 software testing stages. You can find out more about them from our article above.

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