Software testing is a process of checking that the system's actual behaviour corresponds to the requirements and expectations. Tests used for these checks are grounded on the documented specification provided by a customer. The main task is to maximise the likelihood that the tested product will work as it should under any circumstances and meet all the requirements. Also, it is important to provide relevant information about the current product state.
Stages of software testing
Stages of software testing
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The software life cycle is a period starting from the idea creation to the end of the software support by the developer company or the company responsible for its maintenance.
Stages of software testing is a process that consists of a certain number of separate parts, has the ultimate goal, and is performed throughout the whole software life cycle.
The testing process usually coincides with the software development cycle or relates to the specific stage. The stability testing of the software is similar to studying a system as an end-user, that is why a tester should be involved at the stage of collecting and analysing the requirements. Ideally, the discussion of the product elements is held with the participation of the developer, QA-analyst and user.
The software testing life cycle can be divided on the following stages:
Next, we consider every stage the software product goes through in detail, from the idea to operation.
Stage 1. Analyse the requirements
The customer or the product manager decides the conditions and criteria of the system work after discussing it with the customer or analysing the standards and normative documentation. These requirements can be both functional and non-functional.
The tester finds weak points in the test coverage, identifies possible risks, works on the static specification testing: studies its completeness, logic, unambiguousness and clarity. There are circumstances in which the specification is not tested but used in the design and development stage. So the product is sent to the QA department after it is already ready. Therefore the number of found defects, cost and scale of their fixing can increase significantly.
Stage 2. The design process
Because the user has to interact constantly with the system, it is considered one of the essential stage components. Therefore, the product should be user friendly, optimised (the user performs minimal actions to achieve the result) and have a pleasing interface.
At this stage, the tester checks the existing software prototypes for conformity with the customer's requirements, the correctness of visual element display and user-friendliness.
Stage 3. Development
It is necessary to perform module, integration and system testing during the development process.
First, the separate components of the program should be tested. It allows identifying in which part of the code there is an error and subsequently eliminating it. The module testing helps trace whether the changed code caused new errors in already tested parts of the product. It also contributes to a better understanding of every system module role. All found defects are usually corrected in code without their formal description (bug-reporting).
Integration testing allows checking how the code components are combined and interact with each other. It also defines the communication between modules, hardware or different systems.
And finally, let us consider the system testing. At this stage, one should test all components and modules in general. It is required to reduce the number of defects connected with system behaviour peculiarities in various environments. During these checks, we might find such bugs as irrational using system resources, incompatibility with the environment, functional failures, etc.
Stage 4. Testing and debugging processes
Debugging is a process of finding and fixing program bugs.
At this stage, testers check the system for defects even though the system has already been tested before. The full testing of the interface and product functionality is performed. All found bugs must be reported to the bug tracker. It is also needed for performing regression testing to study the system for defects that might appear after fixing other bugs.
After the debugging process, it is necessary to assess the quality of the product and check how the real work of the system corresponds to the customer requirements.
Stage 5. Operation and maintenance
After releasing the product, there is still a necessity for testing, as there will be software updating and new bugs that were released with the product or bugs related to the end-user operation. In this case, there is a need for the QA department intervention.
If the user finds one or the other post-release bugs, the information about them is provided in the form of bug reports to the development team. Depending on the problem severity, this team releases immediately fixing (so-called hot-fix) or postpones it to the next program version.
All changes applied to the software require careful testing. The software must continue performing the built-in functions and not violate other ones and the system as a whole.
The software testing process covers all stages of the development life cycle. It is a non-stop, long-term process that requires an experienced team of testers to cover all the testing stages. Monitoring and analysing it helps to plan and, if necessary, make changes to increase the effectiveness of the following tasks. This part of the modern software development process allows the customer, developers, and most importantly, end-users to get a high-quality product.