Software Testing Life Cycle

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Software Testing Life Cycle

Software Testing Life Cycle consists of six (generic) phases:
Ø Test Planning,
Ø Test Analysis,
Ø Test Design,
Ø Construction and verification,
Ø Testing Cycles,
Ø Final Testing and Implementation and
Ø Post Implementation.

STLC starts from the Requirement Spec phase of SDLC.

Planning (Product Definition Phase)
Activities at this stage would include preparation of high level Test Plan-
(The plan must identify the items to be tested, the features to be tested, the types of testing to be performed, the personnel responsible for testing, the resources and schedule required to complete testing, and the risks associated with the plan.).
This is the phase where Project Manager has to decide what things need to be tested, do I have the appropriate budget etc. Naturally proper planning at this stage would greatly reduce the risk of low quality software. This planning will be an ongoing process with no end point.
High Level Test Plan, (includes multiple test cycles)
Quality Assurance Plan (Quality goals, Beta criteria, etc ..)
Identify when reviews will be held.
Problem Reporting Procedures
Identify Problem Classification.
Identify Acceptance Criteria - for QA and Users.
Identify application testing databases
Identify measurement criteria, i.e. defect quantities/severity level and defect origin
(To name a few).
Identify metrics for the project
Begin overall testing project schedule (time, resources etc.)
Requisite: Review Product Definition Document

QA input to document as part of the Process Improvement Project
Help determine scope issues based on Features of the Product
5 - 10 hours / month approximately

Plan to manage all test cases in a database, both manual and automated.

Analysis (External Document Phase)
Proper and regular meetings should be held between testing teams, project managers, development teams, Business Analysts to check the progress of things which will give a fair idea of the movement of the project and ensure the completeness of the test plan created in the planning phase, which will further help in enhancing the right testing strategy created earlier.

We will start creating test case formats and test cases itself. In this stage we need to develop Functional validation matrix based on Business Requirements to ensure that all system requirements are covered by one or more test cases, identify which test cases to automate, begin review of documentation, i.e. Functional Design, Business Requirements, Product Specifications, Product Externals etc. We also have to define areas for Stress and Performance testing.
QA input to document as part of the Process Improvement Project
Start to write test cases from Action Response Pair Groups
Start to develop metrics based on estimated number of test cases, time to execute each case and if it is “automatable”.
Define baseline data for each test case
25 hours / month approximately.

Design (Architecture Document Phase)

Test plans and cases which were developed in the analysis phase are revised. Functional validation matrix is also revised and finalized. In this stage risk assessment criteria is developed. If you have thought of automation then you have to select which test cases to automate and begin writing scripts for them. Test data is prepared. Standards for unit testing and pass / fail criteria are defined here. Schedule for testing is revised (if necessary) & finalized and test environment is prepared.

Revise Test Plan based on changes.
Revise Test Cycle matrices and timelines
Verify that Test Plan and cases are in a database or Requisite.
Revise Functional Matrix
Continual to write out test cases and add new ones based on changes.
Develop Risk Assessment Criteria
Formalize details for automated testing and multi-user testing.
Select set of test cases to automate and begin scripting them.
Formalize detail for Stress and Performance testing
Finalize test cycles. (number of test case per cycle based on time estimates per test case and priority.)
Finalize the Test Plan
(Estimate resources to support development in unit testing)
Requisite: Review Architecture Document.

QA input to document as part of the Process Improvement Project
Actual components or modules that development will code.
Unit testing standard defined here, pass/fail criteria, etc.
Unit testing reports, what they will look like, for both white and black box testing including input/outputs and all decision points.
List of modules that will be unit tested.

Construction (Unit Testing Phase).

In this phase we have to complete all the test plans, test cases, complete the scripting of the automated test cases, Stress and Performance testing plans needs to be completed. We have to support the development team in their unit testing phase. And obviously bug reporting would be done as when the bugs are found. Integration tests are performed and errors (if any) are reported.

Complete all plans
Complete Test Cycle matrices and timelines
Complete all test cases. (manual)
Complete AutoTester scripting of first set of automated test cases.
Complete plans for Stress and Performance testing
Begin Stress and Performance testing
McCabe tool support - supply metrics
Test the automated testing system and fix bugs.
(Support development in unit testing)
Run QA Acceptance test suite to certify software is ready to turn over to QA.

Test Cycle(s) / Bug Fixes (Re-Testing/System Testing Phase)
In this phase we have to complete testing cycles until test cases are executed without errors or a predefined condition is reached.
Run test cases --> Report Bugs --> revise test cases (if needed) --> add new test cases (if needed) --> bug fixing --> retesting (test cycle 2, test cycle 3….).

Test Cycle 1, run first set of test cases (front and back end)
Report bugs
Bug Verification - ongoing activity
Revise test cases as required
Add test cases as required
Test Cycle II
Test Cycle III

Final Testing and Implementation (Code Freeze Phase)
In this we have to execute remaining stress and performance test cases, documentation for testing is completed / updated, provide and complete different matrices for testing. Acceptance, load and recovery testing will also be conducted and the application needs to be verified under production conditions.

Execution of all front end test cases - manual and automated.
Execution of all back end test cases - manual and automated.
Execute all Stress and Performance tests.
Provide on-going defect tracking metrics.
Provide on-going complexity and design metrics.
Update estimates for test cases and test plans.
Document test cycles, regression testing, and update accordingly.

Post Implementation

In this phase, the testing process is evaluated and lessons learnt from that testing process are documented. Line of attack to prevent similar problems in future projects is identified. Create plans to improve the processes. The recording of new errors and enhancements is an ongoing process. Cleaning up of test environment is done and test machines are restored to base lines in this stage.

Post implementation evaluation meeting to review entire project. (lessons learned)
Prepare final Defect Report and associated metrics.
Identify strategies to prevent similar problems in future project.
Create plan with goals and milestone how to improve processes.
McCabe tools - produce final reports and analysis.
Automation team - 1) Review test cases to evaluate other cases to be automated for regression testing, 2) Clean up automated test cases and variables, and 3) Review process of integrating results from automated testing in with results from manual testing.
Test Lab and testing environment - clean up test environment, tag and archive tests and data for that release, restore test machines to baseline, and etc. ..


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