Entry and Exit Criteria in Software Testing
22 May. 2011 Software Testing & QA
As a software organization grows and becomes more sophisticated by technology upgrades, it recognizes the need for Business Analysts and Quality Assurance to support their Information System functions. Often the practice of software changes released to the QA team is a matter of informal presentment. This presentment at best includes lists of modules, functional or design changes and timelines for moving the changes into production.
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We witness the roots of most test organizations planted firmly and integrated in the development department. This commonalty or kinship with the development organization often leads to biasness as the organization grows. The development of formal test organizations requires a formal interface with development teams. This interfacing serves as the Entry Criteria for the test organization. In addition, the output from the test organization can be labelled as Exit Criteria. The quality and effectiveness of software testing is primarily determined by the quality of the test processes used. The identification of Entry and Exit criteria in software testing are a critical step in further improving the test process.
Entry Criteria for QA testing is defined as “Specific conditions or on-going activities that must be present before a process can begin”. In the Systems Development Life Cycle it also specifies which entry criteria are required at each phase. Additionally, it is also important to define the time interval or required amount of lead time that an entry criteria item is available to the process. Input can be divided into two categories. The first is what we receive from development. The second is what we produce that acts as input to later test process steps.
The type of required input from development includes:
- Technical Requirements/Statement of Need
- Design Document
- Change Control
- Turnover Document
The type of required input from test includes:
- Evaluation of available software test tools
- Test Strategy
- Test Plan
- Test Incident Reports
By referencing the Entry Exit Criteria matrix, we get the clarity of the deliverables expected from each phase. The matrix should contain “date required” and should be modified to meet the specific goals and requirements of each test effort based on size and complexity.
Exit Criteria is often viewed as a single document commemorating the end of a life cycle phase. Exit Criteria is defined as “The specific conditions or on-going activities that must be present before a life cycle phase can be considered complete. The life cycle specifies which exit criteria are required at each phase”. This definition identifies the intermediate deliverables, and allows us to track them as independent events.
The type of output from test includes:
- Test Strategy
- Test Plan
- Test Scripts/Test Case Specifications
- Test Logs
- Test Incident Report Log
- Test Summary Report/Findings Report
By identifying the specific Exit criteria, we are able to identify and plan how these steps and processes fit into the life cycle. All of the Exit Criteria listed above, less the Test Summary/Findings Report; act as Entry Criteria to alter process.
It is this level of process understanding that provides us with the tools we need to improve the overall test process.
Understanding the entry & exit criteria in software testing phase of the system development life cycle enables your application to reach a level of quality aspired by many in the industry. Get in touch with us to know how we can help you reach that quality level through our mobile app testing services.