Release Criteria

Whether someone is making a schedule for the preparations of exams or designing a software, important topics and tasks always have a list of some fixed objectives, which are achieved and made successful by the end of the whole process. Likewise, Release Criteria in the software testing is the list of objective prerequisites that ought to be met by the product to make it suitable for release in the market for the use of the public.

Release Criteria are set by the Quality Assurance (QA) manager before the testing for software commences to make sure that the software when released has exceptional performance and quality. Furthermore, the most important aspect of the Release Criteria is that, it is reviewed and agreed by all product stakeholders prior to the release meetings and preferably during the early stages of the development processes. Release Criteria majorly consists of objectives like:

  • Success goals.
  • All features identified in the Software Requirement Specifications should be met.
  • Important features of the project.
  • Document release notes.
  • Ensure Compatibility.
  • Testing all the requirements.

This list is non-exhaustive as the goals and requirements of the client as well as the software testing team can vary from company to company, product to product and from one project to another.

Reasons for Release Criteria in Software Testing

Release criteria are used to assess and monitor the risk to milestone releases and the final product release of a software. Release criteria are further grouped within assessments, which makes the quality reporting and monitoring exceptionally simple for the developers. The assessments that are provided are always used as a point of departure on a project which are customized and adapted according to the demanded requirements of the project. The other reasons that make release criteria essential are:

  • Data Generation: As the criteria for the release of a software covers an array of topics, the raw data to evaluate the Release Criteria come from many sources, like functional testing, inspections, audits, and project metrics are all contributors to at least some of the criteria. Hence, release criteria places pressure on the data generation capabilities of most organizations, since evaluating all the necessary criteria requires many new skills, techniques, and tools.
  • Quality Reporting: It is important for the organizations to report the release criteria data to the group responsible with managing the software development efforts and monitoring its risks. All the stakeholders should be reported with this data to ensure that the end product is approved by everyone and is suitable to the demanded requirements. This furthermore allows proper project related decisions as well as ensures that all parties are informed about the developments in the project.
  • Quality Monitoring: Release Criteria enables quality monitoring of the project as soon as it can be created. It ensures that the project managers, team leads or other responsible members of development team can monitor the projects at all the levels of its development and keep a track of the risks and other features of the project. Release Criteria hence provides a detailed and proper record of all the milestones achieved during the development of a software.
  • Putting Things Together: From the desired targets, tests, qualities, features and performance to the expected results, one can include every minor or major detail in the Release Criteria, which can be checked or cross checked before the development as well as the release of the product. It ensures that the product quality is not a matter of chance, but rather a result of conscious decisions based on data. This risk-driven, data-driven approach gets problems out in the open in the early stages of development while there is still time to correct them. This helps in the reduction of rework, improved schedule predictability, shortened time to market, and improved product quality.

release criteria

Benefit of Creating Release Criteria in Software Testing:

Release criteria cover a diverse set of quality attributes for a product. Some of these criteria are related to product quality requirements while others are related to software quality assurance, test, software configuration management, or project management data. It allows the team of developers to cover parameters that are considered important and necessary before the commencement of software development. This makes Release Criteria extremely beneficial as it helps the developers to keep a track of the product quality and ensure the fulfilment of clients demand.

Here are some other benefits of Release Criteria in software testing:

  • Keeps a track of the percentage of the original required functionality that needs to be in the final product.
  • Informs about the testing coverage level. That is, the percentage of tests that are required to be executed on the application from the original testing goal.
  • Developers can fix the Pass rate for the testing coverage which will help them in tracking percentage of the executed tests that need to be successfully run without falling into blocks or failures.
  • Number of defects that are still open on the product can be listed.
  • Release criteria also helps in building whole-product responsibility into the product release.
  • If applicable, it can also record the minimal load tolerance of the product.
  • Minimal amount of time the application has been on a Beta Testing trail (if applicable) can be tracked.
  • It can also record the least amount of time the application has been running continuously on the testing or staging environment.

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Categories of Release Criteria:

  1. Alpha Release Criteria:
    • It ensures that all the features are implemented as per the Software Requirement Specification.
    • Verifies final regression test results.
    • Ensures compatibility in the beginning of the project.
    • Executes benchmark tests.
  2. Beta Release Criteria:
    • All bugs reported in the alpha test should be closed before releasing the beta test.
    • Some bug may be mutually agreed to fix later on.
    • Verify final regression test results.
    • Ensure Compatibility.
  3. Final Release Criteria:
    • Open bugs should not be reported in the Beta release test.
    • Verifies final regression test results.
    • Ensures the final compatibility of the software.


The aim of any company is to deliver a product which satisfies all the demands of the client and has state of the art quality, exceptional performance and zero faults and errors. Release Criteria ensures that this can be achieved easily by the team of developers, by providing a way of keeping track of all the changes and tests done during the development of a software. It comprises of a list of objectives that are needed to be accomplished for the success of software development. Hence, Release Criteria ensures that the product meets all the requirements set in the objective, which when achieved makes it worthy of release for the public use.

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