What you need to know about software testing lifecycles

We all know that it is important for software to be tested, but there is a fair bit of mystique surrounding the testing process and what it involves.


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Testing will usually involve a ‘lifecycle’, which is a series of steps that need to be completed in sequence to test the software’s functionality and discover any errors that need to be corrected before the software is released.

Lifecycle steps

There are a number of steps in the testing lifecycle, starting with a review of the software design requirements. The next steps are to plan the tests that are required and to design the tests themselves. Next you can move on to setting up the test environment. These stages do not necessarily need to be run in this order; indeed, you can speed up the process by running some in parallel.

Only at this stage do the tests themselves begin to be executed. In some cases, these will be manual; in others, they may involve executing a script prepared at the test environment stage. The final stage is reporting on the results of the tests and ensuring that they are properly actioned. These final two stages of the lifecycle will need to be repeated as bugs are eliminated; however, there should be no need to revisit the test designs and environment unless the project undergoes major revision.

Planning tests

Perhaps the most crucial stage of the testing lifecycle is the planning. Whether you are testing in house or using a software testing service such as https://www.bugfinders.com, the results will suffer if the tests are not properly planned.

Technology allows testers to do their jobs much more efficiently but they still need a well-constructed plan for their work to be effective.

Planning includes not only the areas of the software that need to be checked and the order in which these tests are carried out but also the resources that need to be allocated to carry out the tests, the number of man-hours required, and the timescale of the project.

Ideally this should all be documented in a test plan so that everyone involved in the project knows what they should be doing at each phase. This also provides an overview for management, confirming whether the tests are on track.