Introduction to Software Engineering/Process/V-Model

The V-model represents a software development process (also applicable to hardware development) which may be considered an extension of the waterfall model. Instead of moving down in a linear way, the process steps are bent upwards after the coding phase, to form the typical V shape. The V-Model demonstrates the relationships between each phase of the development life cycle and its associated phase of testing. The horizontal and vertical axes represents time or project completeness (left-to-right) and level of abstraction (coarsest-grain abstraction uppermost), respectively.

The V-model of the Systems Engineering Process.[1]

Verification PhasesEdit

Requirements analysisEdit

In the Requirements analysis phase, the requirements of the proposed system are collected by analyzing the needs of the user(s). This phase is concerned about establishing what the ideal system has to perform. However it does not determine how the software will be designed or built. Usually, the users are interviewed and a document called the user requirements document is generated.

The user requirements document will typically describe the system’s functional, interface, performance, data, security, etc requirements as expected by the user. It is used by business analysts to communicate their understanding of the system to the users. The users carefully review this document as this document would serve as the guideline for the system designers in the system design phase. The user acceptance tests are designed in this phase. See also Functional requirements.

There are different methods for gathering requirements of both soft and hard methodologies including; interviews, questionnaires, document analysis, observation, throw-away prototypes, use cases and status and dynamic views with users.

System DesignEdit

Systems design is the phase where system engineers analyze and understand the business of the proposed system by studying the user requirements document. They figure out possibilities and techniques by which the user requirements can be implemented. If any of the requirements are not feasible, the user is informed of the issue. A resolution is found and the user requirement document is edited accordingly.

The software specification document which serves as a blueprint for the development phase is generated. This document contains the general system organization, menu structures, data structures etc. It may also hold example business scenarios, sample windows, reports for the better understanding. Other technical documentation like entity diagrams, data dictionary will also be produced in this phase. The documents for system testing are prepared in this phase. V model is also similar with waterfall model.

Architecture DesignEdit

The phase of the design of computer architecture and software architecture can also be referred to as high-level design. The baseline in selecting the architecture is that it should realize all which typically consists of the list of modules, brief functionality of each module, their interface relationships, dependencies, database tables, architecture diagrams, technology details etc. The integration testing design is carried out in the particular phase.

Module DesignEdit

The module design phase can also be referred to as low-level design. The designed system is broken up into smaller units or modules and each of them is explained so that the programmer can start coding directly. The low level design document or program specifications will contain a detailed functional logic of the module, in pseudocode:

  • database tables, with all elements, including their type and size
  • all interface details with complete API references
  • all dependency issues
  • error message listings
  • complete input and outputs for a module.

The unit test design is developed in this stage.

Validation PhasesEdit

Unit TestingEdit

In computer programming, unit testing is a method by which individual units of source code are tested to determine if they are fit for use. A unit is the smallest testable part of an application. In procedural programming a unit may be an individual function or procedure. Unit tests are created by programmers or occasionally by white box testers. The purpose is to verify the internal logic code by testing every possible branch within the function, also known as test coverage. Static analysis tools are used to facilitate in this process, where variations of input data are passed to the function to test every possible case of execution.

Integration TestingEdit

In integration testing the separate modules will be tested together to expose faults in the interfaces and in the interaction between integrated components. Testing is usually black box as the code is not directly checked for errors.

System TestingEdit

System testing will compare the system specifications against the actual system.After the integration test is completed, the next test level is the system test. System testing checks if the integrated product meets the specified requirements. Why is this still necessary after the component and integration tests? The reasons for this are as follows:

Reasons for system testEdit

  1. In the lower test levels, the testing was done against technical specifications, i.e., from the technical perspective of the software producer. The system test, though, looks at the system from the perspective of the customer and the future user. The testers validate whether the requirements are completely and appropriately met.
    • Example: The customer (who has ordered and paid for the system) and the user (who uses the system) can be different groups of people or organizations with their own specific interests and requirements of the system.
  2. Many functions and system characteristics result from the interaction of all system components, consequently, they are only visible on the level of the entire system and can only be observed and tested there.

User Acceptance TestingEdit

Acceptance testing is the phase of testing used to determine whether a system satisfies the requirements specified in the requirements analysis phase. The acceptance test design is derived from the requirements document. The acceptance test phase is the phase used by the customer to determine whether to accept the system or not.

Acceptance testing helps

  • to determine whether a system satisfies its acceptance criteria or not.
  • to enable the customer to determine whether to accept the system or not.
  • to test the software in the "real world" by the intended audience.

Purpose of acceptance testing:

  • to verify the system or changes according to the original needs.


  1. Define the acceptance criteria:
    • Functionality requirements.
    • Performance requirements.
    • Interface quality requirements.
    • Overall software quality requirements.
  2. Develop an acceptance plan:
    • Project description.
    • User responsibilities.
    • Acceptance description.
    • Execute the acceptance test plan.


  1. Clarus Concept of Operations. Publication No. FHWA-JPO-05-072, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 2005

Further readingEdit

  • Roger S. Pressman:Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach, The McGraw-Hill Companies, ISBN 007301933X
  • Mark Hoffman & Ted Beaumont: Application Development: Managing the Project Life Cycle, Mc Press, ISBN 1883884454
  • Boris Beizer: Software Testing Techniques. Second Edition, International Thomson Computer Press, 1990, ISBN 1-85032-880-3

External linksEdit