1. Introduction

In this tutorial, we’ll explore the entry and exit criteria in software testing.

For software testers, understanding these criteria is crucial for effective test planning, execution, and ensuring the delivery of high-quality software.

2. Overview

Entry criteria in software testing refer to the conditions that must hold before starting a specific testing phase. These criteria act as a checklist to ensure the testing environment, resources, and prerequisites are in place.

Entry criteria help prevent wasting efforts by verifying that the project is ready for testing before investing time and resources into testing.

Similarly, exit criteria are the conditions that must be fulfilled before concluding a particular testing phase. These criteria act as a checkpoint to assess whether we have achieved the testing objectives and are done with testing.

Exit criteria aid in making informed decisions about the readiness to progress to the next phase or deliver the software product.

3. Entry and Exit Criteria of Each Phase in Software Testing

Each testing phase has its entry and exit criteria:

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Let’s explore them in detail.

3.1. Test Planning

During test planning, the testing team defines the test approach, objectives, and scope of testing.

To start this phase, everything should be clear about the project requirements, scope, and testing strategy. Similarly, before concluding this phase, we need the resource allocation and test plan documents:

Entry and exit criteria for Test Planning Phase

Project requirements are important because understanding the project goals, functionalities, and constraints is essential to formulate an effective testing strategy. The testing team should have a well-defined scope for the testing process. It includes the software components to be tested, the testing techniques to be used, and the level of testing to be performed.

A comprehensive test strategy outlining the overall testing approach should also be formulated in test planning. It includes details about the testing objectives, test levels, test types, test environments, and resource allocation.

To conclude this phase, we should have a resource allocation plan. It’s a specification of how to allocate testers, test environments, and testing tools for the upcoming activities per the test plan. That’s another exit criterion. The test plan document should be available to all team members and stakeholders for reference and guidance during testing.

3.2. Entry and Exit Criteria in Test Design

During the test design phase, the testing team transforms the testing strategy defined in test planning into tangible test cases and test scripts.

This phase also has several entry and exit criteria:

Entry and exit criteria for Test Design Phase

The test plan, approved in the test planning phase, serves as the foundation for test design. It provides us with essential information about testing objectives, scope, and strategies that guide the creation of test cases.

The testing team must thoroughly analyze the project requirements and ensure the test cases cover all specified functionalities. Test data required for executing the test cases should be prepared and available in the testing environment. This data should be relevant to the test scenarios.

The exit criteria of the test design phase include the development, review, and approval of the test cases. Each case should undergo a thorough review process to identify and address any defects or ambiguities before approval. The test design phase is complete when we finalize the test design document containing test cases, test scenarios, and test data and get it ready for execution.

Meeting the entry criteria ensures that test cases and data are well-prepared and aligned with the testing strategy before execution begins. The exit criteria in test design act as checkpoints to verify that the test cases and associated documents have been created and reviewed according to the defined standards.

3.3. Entry and Exit Criteria in Test Execution

Test execution is the phase where the software’s actual testing occurs. During this phase, the testing team executes the prepared test cases, records test results, and logs defects.

Test cases must be fully developed and approved in the test design phase before test execution begins. The test data required for executing the test cases should be available and relevant to the test scenarios. Let’s look at the visual representation of various entry and exit criteria for the test execution phase:

Entry and exit criteria for Test Execution Phase

The testing environment must be set up correctly, and all prerequisites, including the availability of the application under test, should be met before test execution starts. We should record test results, including pass/fail status and metrics such as test execution time and defect density.

The test execution phase concludes when all identified test cases have been executed, and the test coverage is adequate. All defects encountered during test execution should be logged in the defect tracking system with appropriate descriptions and reproducing steps. Test results and metrics recorded during test execution should be reviewed to identify trends or patterns requiring further investigation or action.

Meeting the entry criteria ensures the testing environment is set up correctly and test cases and data are ready for execution. The exit criteria in test execution confirm that the test execution phase has been completed according to the defined testing scope and objectives.

3.4. Entry and Exit Criteria in Test Closure

The test closure phase marks the conclusion of the software testing effort for a specific project. During this phase, the testing team completes the testing activities, summarises the testing outcomes, and gathers valuable insights for future improvements.

Let’s look at the prerequisites for entering the phase and the conditions for successfully completing it:

Entry and exit criteria for Test Closure Phase

We should thoroughly review and analyze the test results and metrics we record during testing to identify trends, patterns, and overall testing outcomes.

The test closure phase concludes when relevant stakeholders finalize, review, and approve the test closure report. Valuable insights and lessons learned during testing should be documented to guide future testing efforts.

Meeting the entry criteria means we have completed the testing activities successfully. The exit criteria in test closure indicate we have all the necessary exit documents, including the test closure report and lessons.

4. Importance of Setting Clear Entry and Exit Criteria

The entry criteria act as a quality gate that ensures the testing phase begins only when we meet all the prerequisites. This helps avoid premature or incomplete testing and ensures that the test environment, data, and resources are in place for efficient testing.

With proper entry criteria, we can focus on actual test execution rather than dealing with unprepared or unstable environments. This enables us to provide accurate and reliable test results and bug reports.

Exit criteria also help identify potential risks and defects we need to address before moving on to the next phase. They ensure the software product meets the required quality standards before delivery.

5. Best Practices for Defining Entry and Exit Criteria

Defining entry and exit criteria requires careful consideration and collaboration among the testing team, stakeholders, and project managers.

The best practices are:

  • Defining specific and measurable criteria
  • Involving stakeholders and test team collaboration
  • Periodic review and adaptation for improvement

Entry and exit criteria should be clear, specific, and measurable. We should avoid vague or subjective criteria that may lead to misunderstandings or differing interpretations.

We should also incorporate input from stakeholders, developers, and other team members when defining the criteria. Collaborative discussions can help us identify critical factors and ensure that all perspectives are considered in the criteria definition.

We also need to review and update the entry and exit criteria regularly. As the project progresses or changes, we might need to revise specific criteria to align with new requirements or project goals. Continuous improvement ensures that the criteria remain relevant and effective throughout the testing process.

6. Conclusion

In this article, we learned about the entry and exit criteria for each step of software testing.

The entry and exit ensure proper test readiness, mitigate risks and deliver quality products. Properly defined entry and exit criteria enhance efficiency, improve collaboration, and foster a culture of continuous improvement, contributing significantly to project success.

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