A software testing process if not bound by any stipulation or criteria, it may be initiated at any time and may be carried out for the infinite time or for a very short duration. This may produce negative consequences such as absence of goals and objectives, unable to meet the deadlines, over-budget, inefficient testing due to inadequate requirements and understanding of the product.
A QA team needs to know and understand that when it is suitable to carry out the testing process and at what point the process needs to be terminated. It should be known where to start and where to stop. In short, a testing process should be defined and planned along with its entry and exit criteria.
Entry criteria are the condition or the set of conditions, which should exist or be met in order to start a process. To begin the activity of software testing, some conditions and factors are defined and specified during the planning phase, which needs to be met or executed so as to mark the beginning of the software testing activities.
Note: Both Entry and Exit criteria in software testing for each different level is decided and defined by the combined efforts of test team controller and business team .
Let's see some of the conditions or situations which may be seen as an entry criteria for the initiation of testing activities.
Further, it is also relevant to mention that the concept of the entry criteria may be applied at all different levels of the testing such as for unit testing, integration testing, system testing etc. Let's see some entry criteria for each different levels of the test.
"Depending upon the business needs and project requirements along with the deadlines, the above stated general exit criteria list at each different level may be extended or reduced with the approval of Test Team Controller and Business Team."
An exit criterion decides the completion or termination of the testing task. Exit Criteria is the condition of the set of conditions which imparts the completion of an activity or meeting of the targets and goals. Similar to entry criteria, exit criteria is also defined and outlined during the test planning phase. However, exit criteria are more difficult to define in comparison to the entry criteria.
Following are some of the possible exit criteria which may be used to mark the end of the testing activities.
"Similar to entry criteria, the above defined exit criteria list may be further increased or decreased to meet the business needs and requirements within the stipulated deadlines"
Defining and understanding the entry and exit criteria ensures the efficient and effective execution of the testing activities to meet the desired targets and goals of the quality process without going beyond the specified deadlines.
You may also like to read two of the more and important criteria existing in the software testing process; suspension and resumption criteria