Software Release Life Cycle – How to Speed Up by Testsigma

July 2, 2024Mohammad Adil
How to speed up your software releases cycles with Testsigma

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As software organizations work hard to release new features and updates quickly, ensuring all the features are tested properly can be challenging. Testsigma helps speed up the process by automating parts of the software release life cycle. Automation tools used for testing have become popular, but they can take a lot of time and effort, meaning you don’t get much back from them. Testsigma reduces the time and effort needed for creating, executing, and maintaining tests so that teams can focus on more critical aspects of software development.

In this article, we’ll show you how using Testsigma in your software release process can help you get better results faster. Whether you’re testing websites, apps, or programs on a computer, Testsigma has the features and connections to ensure everything works.

What is the Software Release Process?

Releasing new software is a series of steps developers go through to ensure the software they create meets quality standards and user needs. This process includes planning, creating, testing, and deploying the software.

Role of Testing in Software Releases

An essential aspect of software testing during the release process is to focus on finding errors before the product goes public. Let’s dive into role of various testing methods:

Unit testing: This checks each component individually for proper operation. It plays the role of the primary bug-finder.

Integration testing: Here, we test how different modules work in combination after unit testing has been done. It deals with combined functionality.

User acceptance testing: The process uses real-world situations to ensure that the product meets business requirements; it is usually considered as the last step before releasing the product.

Indeed, quality testing greatly minimizes risks that can occur after the release. It verifies that software performs under different conditions like expectations and through catching bugs early. It saves time plus cost, this helps in enhancing success of the overall release.

Testing establishes confidence among users which in turn helps achieve satisfaction by delivering a product that is more reliable. Each type of test is significant in its own right— collectively, they all lead to a strong release.

Types of Software Releases

Software releases proceed by a lifecycle. It has different stages, each playing a distinct role. Understanding these stages enables software engineers to present a well-refined product conveniently.  

Here’s a breakdown of the software releases found within the Software Release Life Cycle (SRLC):

  • Pre-release Stages

Pre-alpha: A very early version where core functions start taking shape. This is used by internal teams for basic testing purposes and identifying major bugs.

Alpha: This is the stage where the software evolves into something more complete with additional features, but at the same time it might be filled with bugs and unstable. It is handed over to internal testers and developers who use it for rigorous testing and provide feedback.

  • Testing and Refinement Stages

Beta: When we talk about the testing and refinement stages, Beta comes into play. This version is sent to a small group of external testers known as beta testers. These individuals get a hands-on experience with a feature-rich version which helps in obtaining feedback based on real-world usage.
By doing this, we are able to pinpoint user experience issues and further refine the software before its public release. There are two main categories of beta releases: 

  1. Closed Beta: A small number of people who are interested in software testing (or otherwise) and whose feedback the developers value is given access.
  2. Open Beta: Any person interested in testing the product can participate— generally, this is announced to everyone.

Release Candidate (RC): A nearly completed version, which needs some verification after significant changes have been made for sure. The main goal of this version is the reliability and elimination of all identified bugs before releasing the public version.

  • Release Stages

General Availability (GA): This signifies the official public release of the software. It’s considered feature-complete, stable, and ready for widespread use.

Release to Manufacturing (RTM): This term is often used for physical software releases (like DVDs), signifying the final version sent for mass production.

Challenges of Software Release

Some major challenges are:

  1. Missed the Mark: Sometimes release dates are not realistic. The creation of pressure for developers and testers that can result in hasty work with hidden defects is a common practice.
  2. Lost in Translation: When there is no proper communication between those who develop software, stakeholders and customers, it often leads to misunderstandings which may include lack of management expectations during the release cycle.
  3. Unrealistic Release Dates: When setting overly ambitious deadlines for delivery it only puts more pressure on the developers and testers— resulting in work that is hurried and thus likely to contain even more issues.
  4. Communication Gaps: Lack of clear communication among teams and stakeholders leads to misunderstandings plus unmet expectations during the release process.
  5. Scope Creep: The primary vision of a software release can alter during the course of development. Addition of new feature requests or bug fixes might bloat the scope that leads to hampering the quality which in turn would delay the release.
  6. Deployment Challenges: Taking the software to production environments has high risks involved. There could be configuration issues or infrastructure problems leading to downtime due to some dependencies not working as expected because they were not known, in addition, rollback plans become critical during such situations.

What is a Software Release Life Cycle (SRLC)?

Software Release Life Cycle (SRLC) is the process that explains the steps a software product goes through from when it’s first thought of to when it’s no longer used. It includes planning, making, testing, using, and keeping up phases. The SRLC way of doing things ensures that the software product is given regularly, foreseeable way while lessening risks and meeting what customers want.

To ensure that new software updates won’t cause more problems than they solve, companies should plan and test them (it’s best to have a unique testing team do this). A software release lifecycle is like a plan outlining how to ensure the updates are successful. Companies should use this plan to determine when and how to upgrade their web or phone apps. That way, their product will stay strong, meet users’ needs, keep important features working, and follow industry standards.

For example, let’s say we’re talking about a new social media platform. The Software Release Life Cycle (SRLC) for this product would go through several steps:

  1. Planning: In this step, you develop the idea for a product and decide what it needs to do. You also determine who will use the product and plan how to make it. For example, if you’re making a social media platform, you would think about creating profiles, sending messages, and sharing images.
  2. Development: This is when the software developers build the product according to the plan made in the planning stage. For example, they would create a user interface for your social media platform and add features like profile creation, messaging, and image sharing.
  3. Testing: This is when the software is checked to ensure it works properly and meets the standards. For a social media platform, it could mean running tests to ensure it’s secure, works for many people at once, and is easy to use.
  4. Deployment: This is when the software product can be used by everyone or just specific people. For a social media platform, this could mean making it available in app stores, getting servers ready, and setting up the database.
  5. Maintenance: This is when the software product gets regular check-ups and bugs are fixed. The maintenance team ensures the product works well and meets users’ wants. For a social media platform, this stage would involve fixing problems, adding new features, and ensuring that using it is a good experience.

Using the SRLC approach, a social media platform can be built and provided in a steady, foreseeable way that is of good quality while reducing risks and satisfying what the customer wants.

The 6 Stages Of Software Release Life Cycle

The Software Release Life Cycle Phases (SRLC) involves a series of stages a software product goes through, from conception to retirement. The following are the six stages of SRLC:

1. Planning

The product is first thought of in this stage, and a plan is made. People involved in the project tell what they need, and a plan for how to do it is created. This stage sets up everything that will happen throughout the process.

2. Development

In this stage, the software developers make and write the product based on what was decided in the planning stage. The development stage involves writing code, testing it, and documenting everything correctly to make a working software product.

3. Testing

This stage is when the software product is checked for any mistakes, errors, and how it works. The testing team ensures the product meets all quality standards and does what it should. Manual and automated testing finds problems before the product can be released.

4. Deployment

At this point, the software product is ready to be used by everyone or just a particular group. This phase involves setting up the servers and the database and ensuring users can access the product. Planning and doing this step carefully is essential to go smoothly and without problems.

5. Operations

In this stage, the software product is checked to ensure it’s running correctly and meeting your needs. The operations team handles any necessary updates, fixes bugs, and adds new features to keep the product up-to-date.

6. Retirement

The software product is no longer being used. We must ensure all the data is saved and moved to a different system or platform. This step is super important so the product can be removed without security issues.

Ways to Control Software Release Life Cycle?

Check out some ways.

Plan & Prioritize: Clearly outline the objectives and functionalities of every iteration in order to prevent feature bloat.

Automate Testing: Implement tools that ensure bug detection is a constant throughout the developmental phase.

Continuous Integration/Delivery (CI/CD): Use automation in building, testing, and deployment processes to hasten the pace of product releases.

Modular Design (Microservices): Develop software as individual modules to facilitate concurrent evolution and rollout.

Version Control & Branching: Utilize version control systems to chronicle modifications made and coordinate diverging streams within software production.

Phased Releases & Rollouts: Try with small groups before the full launch. Opt for a closed beta or open beta phase — phased releases & rollouts. 

Communication & Feedback Loops: Make sure there is transparent communication between development, testing, and stakeholders.

Best Practices for Effective Software Release

For a software release process to be successful, the adoption of a few best practices is recommended. 

Let’s look at some: 

Version control is a system practice that keeps records of changes made to code and documentation over time— enabling you to go back to earlier versions or controlling modifications made by different people on the team.

Automated builds and deployments have many advantages: The use of automation in building leads to the elimination of manual intervention, which reduces human error and makes deployment faster. Jenkins or GitHub are examples of tools that can be used to automate these processes. 

Two terms, continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), are practices adopted by development teams. They involve integrating code into a shared repository as frequently as possible so that any breaking changes can be identified early on.
With CI/CD, tests are automatic and run at each event— thus facilitating quick adjustments on time without consuming too much time for manual testing.

An essential aspect of improving software releases is through feedback loops. Users’ and stakeholders’ participation gives important feedback that helps define future cycles. Following are the ways in which feedback loops can be included:

  • Let’s know what is working and what is not:

This should take place on a regular basis to get information directly from the end users to help point out what works and what doesn’t work.

  • Keep up with stakeholders:

Make sure you have regular check-ins with stakeholders. This will ensure that the software is in line with the business goals as well as user needs.

Keep iterating: make modifications on software features based on feedback loops – this aims to increase performance and user approval ratings. 

When you adopt such approaches, you are able to improve the effectiveness and quality of your software deployment. Always keep in mind that the purpose is not just to develop a program that satisfies users but one that can positively surprise them with what it offers.

How Testsigma Helps Speed Up Software Release Cycles?

Testsigma is a cloud-based test automation platform that can help you and your QA team save time and get results faster. It automates the tedious and time-consuming testing parts so that you can focus on the more critical aspects of software development. Testsigma has an easy-to-use interface, which makes it simple for teams to work together and track their progress.

If you’re looking to test web, mobile, or desktop apps, Testsigma has you covered. It supports many different testing frameworks and works with popular DevOps tools to do testing quickly and easily. Testsigma gives you detailed reports and analytics to see what’s working well and needs improvement.

Testsigma is essential for any QA team looking to speed up their software release cycles and deliver high-quality software products. To learn more about how Testsigma can help you streamline your testing process and accelerate your software release cycles, check out our Software Release Checklist and detailed software release life cycle guide.

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Here’s how Testsigma can help you speed up your software release cycles.

No setup time

Testsigma is completely cloud-based. Thus, it does not require you to do any setup at your end to start your test creation. You must sign up for a free trial account for test creation and execution and leverage its pre-configured setup integrated with Testsigma Lab (Testsigma’s cloud infrastructure).

The Lab hosts a gamut of devices and browsers for your test execution. Thus, setting up and configuring is not something that will delay you. In turn, it helps you achieve the goal of speeding up your software release cycles sooner.

24×7 support

Testsigma’s support team is available 24×7 to help you with your queries and get you started smoothly. If you need instant help, you can connect with Testsigma’s dedicated test automation architects and DevOps engineers, who are always available for quick assistance.

Easy integration into the CI/CD pipeline

Testsigma allows you to integrate your test automation with your CI/CD setup. This way, you can trigger the automated test execution when a successful build is created.

To integrate your tool with Testsigma, request a POST to Testsigma Test Plan Trigger API and then leverage the Test Plan Status Check API to check the execution test.

Here read more about Continuous Integration .

Testsigma offers seamless integrations with a wide range of CI/CD tools such as Jenkins, Azure DevOps, AWS DevOps, AWS Lambda, CircleCI CI/CD, Bamboo CI/CD, Travis CI/CD, CodeShip CI/CD.

Software Release - Testsigma Integrations with a wide range of CI/CD tools

Build reliable tests using simple English

Testsigma helps you build stable and reliable tests in a way similar to writing manual test cases in English – with no drag and drop or record needed. With no coding required, everyone, including subject matter experts and quality analysts, can write automated tests using simple English.

Software Release - Build reliable tests using simple English

Multiple features that make test maintenance very easy

Looping – Testsigma allows you to add For loops in the repetitive test steps, giving you the power of a feature-rich scripted testing tool. Using For loops in programming paradigms eases the automation of repeating actions. You also have the option to initiate and end the iteration between the Loop Start and Loop End.

To use looping, you would need some basic knowledge about control flow statements such as ‘for loop’, ‘while loop’, and their usage for a program’s conditional flow.

Reusable Test Steps

Reusable test steps are standard test steps for many test cases. These test steps are used together to perform tasks such as filling out a Signup Form or a Login Page.

You can reuse the same test steps wherever there is a need for the same login steps to avoid creating the same steps again. You can easily create these test steps similarly to how you create a test case.

Supports Parallel Test Execution

Many cases have observed that the product release cycle gets affected while the organizations try to maximize their test coverage. The solution to this problem is parallel test execution.

Parallel execution of automated tests can reduce the execution time without affecting maximum test coverage. Parallel execution of test cases not only brings the execution time down significantly but also optimizes the software deployment process.

Unlike many other tools that involve a lot of configurations and make the process complex, Testsigma takes care of all the configurational complexities and provides a simple interface to help you carry out parallel test execution seamlessly.

Easy Integration with Device Labs on the Cloud

Testsigma gets easily integrated with cloud labs hosting real mobile devices. You can execute your tests using a wide range of Test Lab Types on the Testsigma Test Plan platform, such as –

  • Testsigma Labs
  • BrowserStack
  • Hybrid
  • Sauce Labs
  • Private Grid

Testsigma Labs is recommended as it comes with pre-configured systems with optimal settings for the test environments.

Accessible Object Recognition

Testsigma allows you to recognize an object for websites and mobile applications quickly. Object recognition is done via UI identifiers.

UI identifiers identify the elements on your app screen or a web page that may need to be interacted with during test execution. To interact with the screen elements, you need to create a UI Identifier and use the UI Identifier name in your test steps.

AI-driven Self Healing

An application undergoes numerous changes, so it takes a lot of time and effort for the testers to modify and run the tests.

Testsigma’s AI-based algorithms detect abnormalities in the existing code and automatically fix them without human intervention. It automatically heals the test cases when there is any change in the position of elements on a webpage and prevents tests from failing.

Check-in detail about the software release life cycle here.

What do Present Customers Have to Say?

Testsigma is trusted by several leading brands all across the globe, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Milliman, and IEEE.

Nathan Lalich, senior product tester from Virtual Gaming Worlds, says that Testsigma helped their team to go from zero automation to very high levels of automation coverage in a very short span of time.

Rani Shenkeshi, quality control specialist from CUNA Mutual Group, reported a significant amount of acceleration in their test automation and a 35% reduction in their application deployment time.

It is crucial for software companies to maintain the quality of their product during the fast release cycles and set relevant KPIs beforehand. If you intend to create quality products and release them on time, Testsigma has all it takes to speed up your software release cycles with minimal time and effort.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a release framework?

A release framework is a structured approach to managing the process of delivering software updates, from planning to deployment.

What is the cycle time of software release?

The cycle time of software release is the total time it takes to move a change from code committed to being live in production.

What are the different software release stages?

Software release stages are like steps in a process. First, you plan what the software should do and how it should work. Then, you create and test the software to ensure it works properly. After that, you put the software out there so people can use it. Finally, you monitor how everything is running and then take the software offline when necessary. Each step has goals to reach and tasks to complete, which help ensure your software is built correctly, appropriately tested, and released without any problems.

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