Entry and Exit Criteria in Software Testing

Software testing, an essential part of software development life cycle, is quite a vast and complex process that requires ample time and efforts of testers to validate software product’s quality and effectiveness. This process, though extensively helpful, often becomes tedious as it has to be executed a plethora of times across different platforms. Moreover, there are multifarious requirements that need to be considered and tested, which sometimes become a source of uncertainty for testers, mostly regarding where to commence & terminate testing. To avoid this confusion, specific conditions and requirements are established by the QA team, before the inception of testing, that helps testers throughout the testing life cycle. These conditions are termed as entry and exit criteria, which play a crucial role in software testing life cycle.

entry exit criteria

What is An Entry Criteria in Software Testing?

As the name specifies, entry criteria is a set of conditions or requirements, which are required to be fulfilled or achieved to create a suitable & favorable condition for testing. Finalized & decided upon after a thorough analysis of software & business requirements, entry criteria ensures the accuracy of the testing process and neglecting it can impact its quality. Some of the entry criteria, which are generally used to mark the beginning of the testing, are:

  • Complete or partially testable code is available.
  • Requirements are defined and approved.
  • Availability of sufficient and desired test data.
  • Test cases are developed and ready.
  • Test environment has been set-up and all other necessary resources such as tools and devices are available.

Both, development and testing phases are used as a source to define the entry criteria for software testing process, like:

  • Development phase/process provides useful information pertaining to software, its design, functionalities, structure, and other relevant features, which offer assistance in deciding the accurate entry criteria like functional and technical requirement, system design, etc.
  • From testing phase, following inputs are considered:
    • Test Plan.
    • Test Strategy.
    • Test data and testing tools.
    • Test Environment.

 

The entry criteria is mainly determined for four specific test levels i.e., unit testing, integration testing, system testing and acceptance testing. Each of these test levels require distinct entry criteria to validate the objective of test strategy and to ensure fulfilment of product requirements.

Unit Testing:

  • Planning phase has been completed.
  • System design, technical design and other relevant documents are properly reviewed, analysed and approved.
  • Business and functional requirements are defined and approved.
  • Testable codes or units are available.
  • Availability of test environment.

Integration Testing:

  • Completion of unit testing phase.
  • Priority bugs found during unit testing has been fixed and closed.
  • Integration plan and test environment to carry out integration testing is ready.
  • Each module has gone through unit testing before the integration process.

System Testing:

  • Successful completion of integration testing process.
  • Priority bugs found during previous testing activities has been fixed and closed.
  • System testing environment is available.
  • Test cases are available to execute.

Acceptance Testing:

  • Successful completion of system testing phase.
  • Priority bugs found during previous testing activities has been fixed and closed.
  • Functional and Business requirement has been met.
  • Acceptance testing environment is ready.
  • Test cases are available.

What is An Exit Criteria in Software Testing?

Exit criteria is an important document prepared by the QA team to adhere to the imposed deadlines and allocated budget. This document specifies the conditions and requirements that are required to be achieved or fulfilled before the end of software testing process. With the assistance of exit criteria, the team of testers are able to conclude the testing without compromising the quality and effectiveness of the software.

Exit criteria highly depends on the by-product of the software testing phase i.e. test plan, test strategy, test cases, test logs, etc. and can be defined for each test level, right from test planning, specification, and till execution. The commonly considered exit criteria for terminating or concluding the process of testing are:

  • Deadlines meet or budget depleted.
  • Execution of all test cases.
  • Desired and sufficient coverage of the requirements and functionalities under the test.
  • All the identified defects are corrected and closed.
  • No high priority or severity or critical bug has been left out.

Similar to entry criteria, exit criteria is also defined for all different levels of testing. Few of them are:

Unit Testing:

  • Successful execution of the unit tests.
  • All the identified bugs have been fixed and closed.
  • Project code is complete.

Integration Testing:

  • Successful execution of the integration tests.
  • Satisfactory execution of stress, performance and load tests.
  • Priority bugs have been fixed and closed.

System testing

  • Successful execution of the system tests.
  • All specified business and functional requirements has been met.
  • Priority bugs have been fixed and closed.
  • System’s compatibility with supported hardware and software.

Acceptance testing

  • Successful execution of the user acceptance tests.
  • Approval from management to stop UAT.
  • Business requirements got fulfilled.
  • No critical defects have been left out.
  • Signing off acceptance testing.

Conclusion:

Defining entry and exit criteria for a software testing process is an essential, as it helps the testing team to finish the testing tasks within the stipulated deadlines without compromising the quality, functionality, effectiveness, efficiency of the software.

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