STLC: Understanding the Software Testing Life Cycle

Mamta Mitali

Jul 19, 2021
STLC: Understanding the Software Testing Life Cycle

The Software Testing profession has undergone a massive transformation in the previous decade, with new opportunities emerging. Software testing is essential to ensure a software program's effective performance so that program works without errors.

If you read our previous article on “Everything about SDLC and its Models” then you know TESTING is one of the phases in the life cycle. This means SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) includes STLC (Software Testing Life Cycle). 

STLC can be considered a subset of the SDLC collection. STLC is limited to the testing process, which assures that the software or product is of high quality. SDLC plays a significant role in the overall development of a product.

Here, we will offer you an understanding of the STLC in details:

Introduction to Software Testing

Software testing is the practice of analyzing a software application's functionality in order to identify any software problems. In order to provide a quality product, it evaluates whether the developed software meets the set requirements and finds any defects in the software.

  • The process of checking and testing a software product is sometimes referred to as verification and validation respectively. These processes are designed and developed to meet the commercial and technical needs.

  • The Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is a set of actions that take place throughout the software testing life cycle.

  • The testing team evaluates and specifies the scope of testing, entry and exit criteria, and test cases during the early stages of the STLC, while the software product or application is being built. It aids in the reduction of test cycle time while also improving product quality.

Phases of STLC:

The STLC has the following phases, but not all of them must be completed. The nature of the product, the time and resources allocated for testing, and the SDLC model to be followed all influence the phases.

  • Requirement Analysis: The testable components of feature requirements acquired during the SDLC process are reviewed. Testing groups may need to interact with stakeholders to clarify requirements if necessary. These specifications can be functional or non-functional, describing what a feature can accomplish or its attributes. During this phase, the ability to automate testing is also assessed.

  • Documented requirements, acceptance criteria, and the anticipated product architecture are all part of the entry criteria.

  • Approved requirement traceability matrix (RTM) and automation feasibility report are the exit criteria.

  • Test Planning: Test Planning is the phase in which a Senior QA Manager defines the test plan strategy, as well as the project's effort and cost estimations. Also determined are the resources, test environment, test constraints, and testing timetable. In the same step, the Test Plan is created and approved.

  • Requirement analysis, RTM, and an automation feasibility assessment are all part of the entry criteria.

Test Case Development:

When the test planning step is finished, the test case development phase begins. During this phase, the testing team creates thorough test cases. In addition, the testing team prepares the necessary test data for the testing. When the test cases are finished, the quality assurance team reviews them.

  • Entry Criteria is a test plan that has been approved, including timelines and a risk/cost analysis.

  • Exit Criteria are test cases and automation scripts that have been accepted.

Test Environment Setup:

The software and hardware circumstances under which a work product is evaluated are determined by the Test Environment Setup. It is an important part of the testing process and can be completed concurrently with the Test Case Development Phase. If the development team provides the test environment, the test team may not be involved in this task. A readiness check (smoke testing) of the given environment is required of the test team.

  • System design and project architecture definitions are entry criteria.

  • A completely functional test environment and accepted test cases are the exit criteria.

  • Test Execution: Features are tested in the deployed environment using the established test cases at this step. Expected and actual test results are evaluated, and the results are compiled for reporting to development teams.

  • All exit criteria from previous steps are included in the entry criteria.

  • Exit Criteria - all tests have been completed and the results have been recorded.

Test Cycle Closure:

The test execution is completed during the closure phase, which includes numerous activities such as test completion reporting, test completion matrices, and test outcomes. Members of the testing team meet, discuss, and review testing artefacts in order to develop tactics that must be applied in the future, based on the current test cycle's lessons. The goal is to eliminate bottlenecks in the process for future test cycles.

  • Test results and recording from all previous phases are used as entry criteria.

  • Exit Criteria - a test closure report was delivered and approved.

STLC Characteristics:

  • The Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) is an important aspect of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), however it only includes the testing phases.

  • When needs are defined or a software requirement document is shared with stakeholders, the STLC begins.

  • STLC provides a step-by-step method for ensuring high-quality software.

What is SDLC and STLC in Software Testing?



  • Stands for Software Development Life Cycle

  • Stands for Software testing Life Cycle

  • It refers to a series of activities carried out as part of the software development process.

  • It refers to a series of activities carried out as part of the software testing process.

  • Aims to successfully complete the software development process, including testing and other phases.

  • Aims to assess a software application's functionality in order to identify any software flaws.


Similarly to how developers follow the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), testers follow the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC). A good software tester should be familiar with the STLC life cycle and its activities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What are the stages of STLC?

The stages of STLC are as follows:

  • Requirement analysis
  • Test planning
  • Test case development
  • Test environment setup
  • Test execution
  • Test cycle closure

Q: Why is STLC important?

STLC is important for several reasons, including:

  • It helps to ensure that the software being developed meets user requirements and is of high quality.
  • It helps to prevent defects and errors in the software by catching them early in the development process.
  • It helps to reduce the cost of software development by identifying and fixing defects early in the development process.
  • It helps to ensure that the software is reliable, efficient, and secure.

Q: How does STLC differ from SDLC?

SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) is the process of designing, creating, testing, and deploying software. STLC is a part of SDLC and focuses specifically on the testing stage of the process.

Q: What are the benefits of using STLC?

The benefits of using STLC include:

  • Improved quality of software.
  • Reduced cost of software development.
  • Increased efficiency in the testing process.
  • Reduced risk of defects and errors in the software.
  • Improved customer satisfaction.
  • Improved communication and collaboration within the development team.

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