What is software testing life cycle

What is Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC)? This is one common question asked in interviews for testers. I have seen many freshers who get confused between STLC and SDLC. Go through the below article on STLC in which I have tried to make it simple.

Software Testing Life Cycle is nothing but the steps involved in testing activities of the Software application. Though there is no standard testing life cycle, the basic remains the same.

Phases of Software Testing Life Cycle

There are various phases in software testing lifecycle as in software development lifecycle. Testing lifecycle phases are

  1. Requirement Phase
  2. Test Plan Phase
  3. Test Design Phase
  4. Test Environment set up
  5. Test Execution Phase
  6. Test closure

Requirement Phase:

In This Phase, the QA team will study and understand the requirement from testing point of view. The QA team will interact with the clients or stake holder and understand the requirement in detail. If there is any missing requirement or if there is any duplicate requirement or any other conflicts exist in the requirement, testing team will interact with the client or business analyst to get the requirements cleared. Requirement could either be Functional Requirement or Non Functional Requirement. QA team will be involved from the requirement phase itself to avoid bugs into software that could be caused by Requirement conflicts.

Test Plan Phase:

This phase is also called as Test Strategy phase and is a very important phase in software test life cycle. In this phase, senior test manager estimates the cost of the project. Based on the requirement analysis made in Requirement phase, a Test Plan is created.

Test plan is a document that contains all the testing activities in it.

Test plan includes

  1. Scope and Objective of the project: To ensure software application meets all the requirements and quality
  2. Features to be tested: Describes the features that has to be tested
  3. Features not to be tested: Describes features that need not be tested and the reason for the same
  4. Testing Approach: Describes the approach of testing, which testing type to be used and how to test
  5. Test deliverables: Test deliverables includes test plans, test summary reports.
  6. Roles and Responsibilities: Includes which tester will perform which role and their responsibilities.
  7. Schedule: Describes the schedule of when the project to be completed and delivered
  8. Risk involved: Describes what are the various risks involved and the alternatives to overcome the risk.

Test Design Phase:

Once the test planning phase is complete, test case design starts. Test Case is the document which contains module to be tested, Test Data, Expected Result and Actual Result.

Also Traceability Matrix is created in Test Design Phase. Traceability Matrix maps every requirement to test case to ensure better coverage of the requirements.

Test Environment setup:

Setting up a Test Environment is very important. Test environment will almost be similar to live environment and also decides on which condition software is tested.

Test Execution Phase:

In test Execution phase, the testing team will execute the test cases that was prepared in Test Design phase. If the test case execution is successful it is marked as pass. If execution fails, then it is reported as a bug in the bug reporting tool.

Test Closure phase:

In Test closure, the QA team will discuss and analyse on the testing activities carried out. They discuss which strategy can be implemented in future and also discuss on the areas that need improvement for further testing. They also discuss on the difficulties they faced during the testing process.


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