A common practice of software testing is performed by an independent group of testers after the functionality is developed before it is shipped to the customer. This practice often results in the testing phase being used as project buffer to compensate for project delays, thereby compromising the time devoted to testing Another practice is to start software testing at the same moment the project starts and it is a continuous process until the project finishes.
In counterpoint, some emerging software disciplines such as extreme programming and the agile software development movement, adhere to a "test-driven software development" model. In this process, unit tests are written first, by the software engineers (often with pair programming in the extreme programming methodology). Of course these tests fail initially; as they are expected to. Then as code is written it passes incrementally larger portions of the test suites.
The test suites are continuously updated as new failure conditions and corner cases are discovered, and they are integrated with any regression tests that are developed. Unit tests are maintained along with the rest of the software source code and generally integrated into the build process (with inherently interactive tests being relegated to a partially manual build acceptance process