Introduction to Software Test Life Cycle

The Software Test Life Cycle is the process of performing tests on a software application to identify any bugs and fix them. This article goes through all the basics of STLC.

What is Software Test Life Cycle

STLC is the process of testing software from the first development to its delivery. It includes all the activities that take place during this long period, starting with requirement analysis and ending with maintenance and retirement. STLC is the way through which we can approach the testing process systematically and enables the finding of bugs and defects in a system or application.

The STLC consists of three major phases: pre-test, test, and post-test. These activities are carried out by testers before starting a test cycle and after it ends respectively.

This life cycle consists of a set of activities that starts with planning and ends with test closure.

The software testing life cycle is a framework for the testing process. It consists of five discrete stages: planning, designing, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. The activities within these stages can be performed in any order but must be completed as part of a single continuous process.

We use this life cycle to develop and execute the test cases.

The STLC is a systematic approach to the testing process. It provides a structured way of planning, designing, executing, and reporting the test cases. It helps us in planning, designing, and analyzing our product or service. The defined activities within this life cycle help us in obtaining meaningful information about the product or service by identifying its faults. The advantage of STLC is that it divides the project into small manageable parts which are easier to handle than large projects.

Seven Phases in Software Testing Life Cycle

1. Requirement analysis

The first phase of a software development lifecycle is requirement analysis. This is where we identify the business needs of our clients and create a solution that meets their goals. There are several steps involved in this process:

  • We meet with the client to understand their requirements by asking questions about their product or service and how it will be used by customers.
  • Once we have identified these requirements, we write them down as use cases or user stories (depending on the type of project). These document what users need from your system, not how it should work or look like. For example, if you're creating an online store for selling clothes then one user story could be "I want to be able to find my size before purchasing any item with ease". The key deliverables at this stage are use cases/user stories; they will become part of your SRS (Systems Requirements Specification) later on so they need not include details such as design or implementation yet! 

2. Test Planning

Test planning is the process of defining the scope of the testing effort, identifying the resources required, and estimating the time and cost for test execution. Test planning is an iterative process that continues throughout STLC. It begins with a clear understanding of project goals and stakeholder expectations. It ultimately results in a test plan that describes how you will perform your testing activities, including:

  • What are we going to test?
  • How are we going to do it?
  • Who is responsible for executing each task?

3. Test Case Design

The test case design is the process of creating the test cases that will be used in a software testing project. It includes deciding what to test, how to test it, and what not to test. Test cases should be written in a format that is easy to understand by all team members involved in software development and testing.

4. Test Environment setup

Test Environment Setup is the process of creating a Test Environment that is as close to the Production Environment as possible. A test environment allows for testing both functional and non-functional requirements of your product, such as performance, security, usability, etc. It also helps in finding bugs during development processes before they reach the production environment. Test environments should be set up in a way that they can be used for testing the product and not just deployed on their own without any purpose. There are many different ways of setting up a test environment depending on your requirements, some common options include:

  • Virtual Machines (e.g., VMware Virtual Platform)
  • Physical Machines (e.g., Rackspace Cloud Servers)

5. Test Execution

Test Execution is the process of testing the software to find bugs. It is performed by testers and covers all test cases, scenarios, and test plans that have been designed for the software under consideration. Test execution can be performed manually or through automation using tools such as Selenium WebDriver, Cucumber BDD, etc.

6. Bug Reporting

The following is a list of typical steps in the process of reporting and fixing bugs:

  • The bug is reported to the development team. This can be done through a bug-tracking system, or by emailing another member of the development team directly.
  • The bug is recorded in a bug-tracking system and assigned to developers who specialize in that area of code.
  • The developer fixes the issue, then retests their changes against other parts of the program (in an automated fashion) before pushing them up to staging servers for further testing by QA teams, or manually testing by end users if it's not yet ready for prime-time deployment (e.g., if there's no staging server available).

7. Test Closure:

Test closure is the final step of the software testing life cycle and involves closing defects, verifying their closure, and archiving test data. This phase is critical because it closes the loop of testing. Unless you have a completely automated system that allows you to keep track of all your bugs throughout development and seamlessly close them at each stage, there's no way to know if you're done with testing until you've gone through this process.


We can say that the software testing life cycle is the way through which we can approach the testing process systematically. It consists of a set of activities that starts with planning and ends with test closure. We use this life cycle to develop and execute the test cases.

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