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Software Testing Life Cycle
Software Testing Life Cycle consists of six phases:
1) Planning
2) Analysis

3) Design
4) Execution
5) Cycles
6) Final Testing and Implementation
7) Post Implementation

1 Test Planning (Product Definition Phase):

The test plan phase mainly signifies preparation of a test plan. A test plan is a high level- planning document derived from the project plan (if one exists) and details the future course of testing. Sometimes, a quality assurance plan - which is broader in scope than a test plan is also made.

Contents of a test plan are as follows:
Scope of testing
Entry Criteria (When testing will begin?)
Exit Criteria (When testing will stop?)
Testing Strategies (Black Box, White Box, etc.)
Testing Levels (Integration testing, Regression testing, etc.)
Limitation (if any)
Planned Reviews and Code Walkthroughs
Testing Techniques (Equivalence Partitioning, Boundary Value Analysis etc.)
Testing Tools and Databases (Automatic Testing Tools, Performance testing tools)
Reporting (How would bugs be reported)
Milestones
Resources and Training

Contents of a SQA Plan, more broader than a test plan, are as follows:

The IEEE standard for SQA Plan Preparation contains the following outline:
Purpose
Reference Documents
Management
Documentation
Standards, Practices and Conventions

Reviews and Audits
Software Configuration Management
Problem Reporting and Corrective Action (Software Metrics to be used can be

identified at this stage)
Tools, Techniques and Methodologies
Code Control
Media Control
Supplier Control

Records, Collection, Maintenance and Retention
2 Test Analysis (Documentation Phase)

The Analysis Phase is more an extension of the planning phase. Whereas the planning phase pertains to high level plans - the Analysis phase is where detailed plans are documented. This is when actual test cases and scripts are planned and documented. This phase can be further broken down into the following steps:

Review Inputs:

The requirement specification document, feature specification document and other project planning documents are considered as inputs and the test plan is further disintegrated into smaller level test cases.

Formats:

Generally at this phase a functional validation matrix based on Business Requirements is created. Then the test case format is finalized. Also Software Metrics are designed in this stage. Using some kind of software like Microsoft project - the testing timeline along with milestones is created.

Test Cases:
Based on the functional validation matrix and other input documents, test cases are
written. Also some mapping is done between the features and test cases.
Plan Automation:

While creating test cases, those cases that should be automated are identified. Ideally those test cases that are relevant for Regression Testing are identified for automation. Also areas for performance, load and stress testing are identified.

Plan Regression and Correction Verification Testing:
The testing cycles, i.e. number of times that testing will be re-done to verify that bugs
fixed have not introduced newer errors is planned.
3 Test Design (Architecture Document and Review Phase)

One has to realize that the testing life cycle runs parallel to the software development life cycle. So by the time, one reaches this phase - the development team would have created some code or at least some prototype or minimum a design document would be created.

Hence in the Test Design (Architecture Document Phase) - all the plans, test cases, etc. from the Analysis phase are revised and finalized. In other words, looking at the work product or design - the test cases, test cycles and other plans are finalized. Newer test cases are added.

Also some kind of Risk Assessment Criteria is developed. Also writing of automated testing scripts begins. Finally - the testing reports (especially unit testing reports) are finalized.

Quality checkpoints, if any, are included in the test cases based on the SQA Plan.

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