What is STLC – Software Testing Life Cycle?

If you ever wanted to give a lay outside the IT sector a sophisticated answer to what does a software tester do, it might be: looks after the software testing lifecycle. It sounds a bit weird, but it’s true. What does it actually mean?

Testing is not on a straight line or line segment, it is not linear. We test continuously, repeatedly, looking for new and overlooked bugs. That’s why we test in cycles. In order not to miss anything essential in the testing and to keep the same conditions, each cycle has defined phases. And that is the software testing lifecycle. Before we explain it in more detail, let’s look at another life cycle that is superior to the test one.

Software Development Life Cycle and Testing – SDLC vs. STLC

Agile methodology involves software development that requires many iterations and changes in each sprint. Agile development must include equally agile testing. That’s in the SDLC, the Software Development Life Cycle, 5. step, testing comes after development. The different phases look like this:

  1. 1. Planning,
  2. 2. Defining problems,
  3. 3. Solution proposal,
  4. 4. Development,
  5. 5. Testing,
  6. 6. Deployment.

Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC)

For us, however, the Software Testing Life Cycle is more important. Like the development cycle mentioned above, test has its own cycle. Its phases are of course different and do not reflect the development goals and deployment of the resulting software, but they primarily ensure code review, functionality and error-free features.

Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) Phases

A team of IT testers analyses software requirements
The STLC cycle has its exact phases.

1. Requirements analysis

In this phase, the test team examines the software requirements, which will yield the criteria for testing. Software requirements can be both functional and non-functional, i.e. not only the functionalities of the developed solution will be tested, but also, for example, its security against data leakage. The analysis is also carried out thanks to input from customers, the development team or users. In some cases, it is also analysed whether testing can be automated.

2. Planning phase

In this phase, a test coordinator, such as a manager or consultant, estimates the time and financial aspect of testing, the testing strategy, the test timeline and cycle. This plan and its timeline is put in the context of the axis of the entire project – since the STLC is a subset of the SDLC.

3. Test case development

Test cases are being created and conditions are being prepared for automation of testing, if the project allows it. According to the defined criteria and requirements from the analysis, everything essential for the correct functionality of the final product is included in the tests.

4. The test environment is set up

A phase in which software and hardware conditions are determined that simulate real-world use. This phase can run in parallel with the test case development, as the test case must be usable in the test environment. To determine if the environment is suitable and ready, the test team will perform smoke stability tests.

5. Implementation phase

Testers run tests according to test plans on prepared test environments. The bugs they find are forwarded via tickets to the developers, who then work on them. Regression testing (which is usually automated) continuously checks whether changes have caused other bugs and, if necessary, reports bugs to the developers again.

6. Closing the test cycle

The cycle closes with the successful testing of the software or code. The testing team evaluates the project and its obstacles, if there is an ‘aha’ moment in the process, it is recorded in documentation, guidelines or best practices for further use.

Although one cycle is finished, in a long-term project it is still just a cog in the whole machine. Continuous integration and continuous delivery are two concepts that are closely tied to both agile development and software testing. Since software is a “living organism” and is constantly changing and evolving, it also needs to be constantly tested and the changes that result from the tests need to be integrated. One cycle follows another – the last phase of the cycle is therefore very important. Proper summarization can make the next cycle significantly more efficient or simpler.

Hand holding paper where the repetition symbol is cut out
The software will continue to be actively tested after the last phase of the cycle.

STLC and testers: who contributes what in the software testing lifecycle?

Every IT tester has to earn his software tester salary by doing a consistent job that makes the entire testing cycle run like a well-oiled machine. Juniors, consultants, and automation specialists all have their place in the cycle.

IT testers

A junior IT tester – a student with sufficient experience – is involved in the software testing lifecycle by creating test cases. Thus, he is involved in manual testing, for which he uses one of the available manual testing tools.

IT testers – consultants

An IT tester consultan must be able to explain to the client in human language which phase of testing the product is currently in, and at the same time communicate with colleagues about the phases, possible obstacles and put the whole process in the context of the project and the project timeline. He coordinates the testing process, so his role is very important.

IT specialists for automated testing

If the test case is set up correctly manually and the project allows it, the automated test specialist will set up the tests thanks to his knowledge of automation testing tools. This will speed up regression testing immensely and allow fellow manual testers to focus on creating new test cases and discovering new bugs.

Join the msg life Slovakia team

Do you want to be there to test digital insurance solutions and see what the lifecycle of our applications looks like for yourself? Check out the job offers at msg life Slovakia and apply. If you’re hesitant, you may be convinced by the employee benefits, which are set up to benefit your work-life balance and career growth.

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