Entry and Exit Criteria

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In order to exercise effective control over the quality and testing of software, it is highly advisable to establish clear entry and exit criteria. These criteria help to ensure that the testing process is adequately planned, executed, and monitored. In this article, we will delve into the specifics of entry and exit criteria to gain a deeper understanding of their importance in software development.

Table of Contents

  1. Entry Criteria
  2. Exit Criteria
  3. Video Tutorial

Entry Criteria

The Entry Criteria specify the conditions that must be met before a particular testing activity can commence. In Agile development, these criteria are commonly referred to as the "Definition of Ready," which outlines the prerequisites for initiating a given testing activity. Failure to satisfy the entry criteria can lead to increased difficulty, time, cost, and risk associated with the testing activity. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the entry criteria are met before commencing any testing activity to minimize potential setbacks and optimize the testing process.

Typical entry criteria include:

The typical criteria for entry into the testing phase of a software development project include the following:

  • Availability of testable requirements, user stories, or models: The test team needs access to these documents to understand what needs to be tested and how. Models are significant when following a model-based testing strategy. 
  • Availability of test items that have met the exit criteria for any prior test levels: Before moving on to the next testing phase, the test team needs to ensure that the test items from the previous phase have met the exit criteria. This ensures that any defects found have been resolved and the test items are ready for further testing.
  • Availability of the test environment: The test team needs a dedicated test environment to conduct their testing activities. 
  • Availability of necessary test tools: The test team needs access to the tools required to conduct their testing activities. This may include automated testing tools, defect tracking tools, performance testing tools, etc.
  • Availability of test data and other essential resources: The test team needs access to relevant test data, such as sample input data, output data, and databases, to perform their testing activities. 

Exit Criteria

Exit Criteria refer to the specific conditions that must be met to determine when an activity is complete. In Agile Development, Exit Criteria are often referred to as the "Definition of Done." This term describes the set of requirements that must be satisfied to declare a particular test level or group of tests finished. In other words, the Definition of Done outlines the minimum standard a given deliverable must meet to be considered complete and ready for release.

Typical exit criteria include:

Commonly utilized exit criteria consist of the following factors:

  • Execution of planned tests has been completed.
  • A predetermined level of coverage has been attained, such as requirements, user stories, acceptance criteria, risks, and code
  • The number of unresolved defects falls within the agreed-upon limit
  • The anticipated remaining defects are at an acceptably low level.
  • The assessed reliability, performance efficiency, usability, security, and other relevant quality characteristics meet the requirements.

In software development, it is common for test activities to be shortened, even if the exit criteria are not satisfied. Such a scenario may arise due to budgetary constraints, the completion of the scheduled time, or the pressing need to launch the product to market. In such cases, it may be deemed acceptable to terminate testing if the relevant project stakeholders and business owners have evaluated and approved the associated risks of proceeding with the release without additional testing.

It is crucial to establish entry and exit criteria for every type and level of testing, which will vary depending on the test objectives.