Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC)


    SOFTWARE TESTING LIFE CYCLE (STLC), also known as SOFTWARE TEST PROCESS, defines the various stages / phases / activities in the testing of software.

    STLC Phases and Activities

    There is no one universal software testing life cycle or test process, but there are common sets of test phases / activities which enable testing to achieve its established objectives. Though the phases have been presented sequentially, they need not be carried out in the specified order.

    Phase Activity Work Products
    Requirements Analysis You review the business & software requirements and identify any defects in those specifications.
    • ‘Review Defect’ Reports
    Test Planning Once you have gathered a general idea of what needs to be tested, you ‘plan’ for the tests.
    Test Designing You design / detail your tests on the basis of detailed requirements / design of the software.
    Test Environment Setup You setup the test environment (server / client / network, etc) with the goal of replicating the end-users’ environment.
    • Test Environment
    Test Execution You execute your Test Cases / Scripts in the Test Environment to see whether they pass.
    Test Reporting & Closure
    You prepare various reports for various stakeholders.
    • Test Results (Final)
    • Test Metrics
    • Test Closure Report


    The specific software testing life cycle or test process to be used for a particular project can be selected (and adapted) based on the following:

    • Software Development Life Cycle
    • Business priorities
    • Product characteristics and risks
    • Project goals and risks
    • Team characteristics
    • Budgets and resources
    • Timescales
    • Complexity
    • Organizational policies, practices and standards
    • Contractual obligations
    • Legal regulations
    • Industry-specific standards and regulations


    Interestingly, no matter how well-defined a Software Testing Life Cycle you have in your project or organization, there are chances that you will invariably witness the following widely-popular cycle:


    In this type of STLC, you skip phases like test designing and head straight to test execution — in the hope that the skipping will save you some time and cost. But, it never does and you’ll instead end up swearing in the end! Yes, a lot.

    Last Updated on September 10, 2020 by STF