A Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is composed of different stages that ensure that the end product matches the vision and requirements of the client. The order of the various phases follows a logical path while the approach to each is more fluid. Thus, as with most other types of product development, there is a fair bit of fluidity with several models and methodologies. Some of the most common SLDC methodologies are Waterfall model, V-Shaped model, Iterative model, Spiral model, Agile model, etc. All these approaches generally start and end with the same goal – starting from requirement gathering and analysis to disposition and delivery.
Every stage in the SDLC is important, but software testing is perhaps the most crucial. Understandably, it consumes a fair share of the total development time and effort. Proper testing could well make all the difference between just an acceptable product and a spectacular error-free piece of software.
There are different types of software testing methods as well. The requirements, stages, and needs determine the method such as unit testing, integration testing, stress testing, usability testing, performance testing, use-acceptance testing, etc. are used. Each serves its purpose in the SDLC. The following points illustrate the importance of testing in a development cycle.
- Testing helps detect any errors, infinite loops, etc. when a piece of software is run in the testing environment. When these errors are caught in the early stages, it saves a lot of time and effort on the part of the software developing company and its clients since these errors can be tough to locate and correct in the later stages of the SDLC.
- Software testing is carried out at different stages during the SDLC by different people. For instance, a software developer performs unit testing while a testing team with access to specialised testing tools and methodologies does other types of testing. Each person uses a different set of tools and methods. This approach is far more effective at catching bugs and errors. The end result is higher accuracy and robustness as compared to the levels achieved if only one level of testing was performed.
- Some types of software testing such as stress testing and performance testing also help to establish how robust the software is. For instance, if a client has a high-traffic application, a new piece of software must be able to perform properly even when it receives high traffic. Stress testing ensures that the new software is ready to be put in production. Performance testing checks the speed and effectiveness of the software – it is a check to see if it produces desired results within and in a specified time.
- Testing is one of the easiest ways to prove the quality of the product to the customer. When the developed software produces desired outputs for any given inputs, it can assure the customers that the software works as per their expectations. User acceptance testing is usually carried out before delivery so that the client can test and validate the end product.
Software testing also lowers maintenance costs for clients. The reason is obvious – if the delivered software has been tested thoroughly, it is likely to work well with minimal maintenance. There is also the additional benefit of a great customer experience.