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A software testing life cycle (STLC) is a set of steps used to test software products. Software testing is a critical part of preparing software for use, and a STLC helps make this process more sophisticated, consistent and effective.
Many STLC setups start with an analysis of testing requirements, or figuring out what needs to be accomplished with testing. Developers look at all possible scenarios where a lack of testing could lead to software vulnerabilities or glitches. One of the next steps involves test planning, where teams make concessions for the identified requirements. Later, there is test execution and other follow-ups, such as regression testing for more complex user interactions and retesting for some elements that are more troublesome than the average code module. After implementation, there is typically a "closure" step, where teams ensure the completion of everything that needs to occur.
It is important to note that a software testing life cycle is different from a release or development life cycle, which also involves testing but only as a sub-portion of relevant production phases. In general, the software release process has become a somewhat standardized process, with phases labeled alpha and beta, as well as other steps used to slowly put together a software product and release it to an end user audience. In recent years, some organizations have changed the way they approach release and testing life cycles, such as a process known as "devops," which is used to bridge development and production environments, or even calling on end users to assist in identifying software issues - something that often occurs in the open-source community.