The life cycle of a tool

The life cycle of a tool

Throughout the software testing tool life cycle, it is the responsibility of the Test Manager to ensure the smooth functioning and graceful continuation of tool.

1. Acquisition

  • specific software testing tool selection approach has to be used (more details to follow)
  • the Administrator of the tool should be assigned by the Test Manager. This can be a test analyst or a technical test analyst and should:
    • define how and when the tool will be used
    • where created artifacts will be stored
    • define naming conventions, etc
  • ROI (return on investment) can be improved by taking these decisions versus allowing them to just happen in an ad-hoc basis
  • training will be required and should be done here

2. Support and maintenance

  • Ongoing processes for tool support and maintenance of the tool will be required
  • The responsibility for maintaining the tool may go to the administrator of the tool, or it might be assigned to a dedicated tools group
  • If the tool is to work with other tools, then data interchange and processes for should be considered
  • Decisions on backup and restore of the tool and its outputs need to be considered

3. Evolution

  • Conversion must be considered
  • As time goes by, the environment, business needs, or vendor issues may require that changes to the tool or its use are made like:
    • an update to the tool may cause issues with cooperating tools
    • a necessary change to the environment for business reasons may cause issues with the tool
  • The more complex the operating environment for a tool, the more evolutionary change may disrupt its use.
  • the Test Manager may need to ensure that the organization has a way to ensure continuity of service

4. Retirement

  • The time will come when the software testing tools had outlasted their useful lifetime and they will need to be retired gracefully.
  • The functionality supplied by the tool will need to be replaced and data will need to be preserved and archived.
  • This can occur because the tool is at the end of its testing tool life cycle, or simply because it has reached a point where the benefits and opportunities of conversion to a new tool exceed the costs and risks.

test tool lifecycle

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For a broader article on this topic, you can check our Test Manager School or further browse our software testing blog.

This article is based on the ISTQB Advanced Syllabus version 2012 and it also references the ISTQB Foundation Syllabus version 2018. It uses terminology definitions from the ISTQB Glossary version 3.2.

In late 2019 we have launched A Test Manager’s Guide eBook that stands as the base for this article. You can check out more useful test management lessons by enrolling for free to view Chapter 1 – Back to the basics.