If you are in an IT industry, you would have come across the term SDLC also known as System Development Life Cycle. The software development industry has seen significant growth over the decades, from Y2K to Artificial intelligence. There have been numerous innovative processes and technologies that various IT companies have developed to make their workplace more efficient and the software more robust.
Over the decades, the IT industry has seen changes in software, tools, platforms, and hardware. One thing that remained constant and solidified is the Software development life cycle. The SDLC has become an integral part of every Custom Software Development Company. In this article, let’s dive deep into the 7 phases of the software development life cycle.
In this article let’s understand the 7 phases of Software Development Life Cycle, and how to implement it successfully in a project,
What is Software Development Life
Simply put, SDLC is about having a perfect plan before jumping into the software coding phase. The software development life cycle is a seamless framework that defines every task to be performed in every step of the software development process. This methodology would aim to improve the software’s quality and the overall development process.
These detailed steps would help the company reduce waste and boost the efficiency of the development. Monitoring the process also ensures that the project stays on track and that the company’s investment is feasible.
Most experienced software companies further subdivide these seven steps into small units. For example, the planning phase may be divided into further small units like Cost-benefit analysis, technology research, and marketing research. Few organisations combine a few steps like testing and development into one phase to have seamless communication between the testing and development team.
7 Phases of Software Development Life Cycle
Implementing these steps is complicated; to ease the implementation of the SDLC process, you must understand the details of each phase. Here are the seven stages of a software development life cycle.
The first step of the Software development life cycle is planning. The management and various team leaders are involved in this stage. Initially, the team would define the scope and purpose of the project. This phase entitles multiple vital aspects of the project to determine the feasibility report, right system for development, and project plan.
The planning team would pen down all the project details and create the application outline. In this stage, the following aspects are discussed to introduce in the project plan.
- The goal of the project
- Structure of the team
- Leadership team
- Material Cost
- Tools required
- Labour Cost
- Time Frame
- Other Critical issues
The boundary conditions for the project would be decided in this phase to ensure that the project won’t expand or deviate from the actual purpose. During the planning phase, feedback from stakeholders, developers, potential customers, sales representatives, and subject matter experts is considered to make an informed decision. The software development company would refer to its portfolio and talent team to ensure the project is feasible and profitable.
The development team would be taking control of the project from this stage. Here the team would have discussions with the client and internally to understand the end-user requirement. Usually, the subject matter experts are included during the decision-making of the requirements.
The developers would create a Software Requirement Specification(SRS) document in this stage. This document would contain all the requirements of network specifications, software, and hardware. This document would prevent the team from overdrawing resources or cash. The output of this phase can be the SRS document or an agile methodology or a waterfall listing the tasks, applications and functionalities.
Design & Prototyping
The design phase happens just before the coding phase. We have now detailed the outline and requirements of the software application. In this phase, the team will be focused on the programming and application architecture. The stage will zero in on the details like the programming language, software industry practices, and problem-solving tasks. The user interface team will start creating the prototyping and design. The security of the software and the application like user data management, hosting details and security issues will also be decided in this stage.
Most software development companies would plan to build the prototype during this stage. This prototype would be verified by the stakeholders, clients, and potential users to eliminate any risks associated with the project. Prototyping and validation is the most efficient practice to understand if there is room for improvement and if the application meets the design requirements.
In this stage, the developers will use the chosen software and programming language to start writing the actual codes to develop the application. The company might allocate a single developer to complete the project if it is straightforward software. But if the project is long, the company would break up the project into several teams. The company must use a source code management application; this system would enable the developers to manage and track the changes in the code.
The coding process would also include other tasks; the developers might need to brush their skills or would require motivation to work as a team. There can also be delays in finding and fixing the glitches and errors. Compiling code and testing results is also a time-consuming process. Following SDCL would help the ManagementManagement to anticipate these delays so that the developers can work on other tasks.
A document would be created in this stage, and it could be as formal as a user guide for the software or informal like comments which explain the source code to the developers. These documents make the software intuitive and easy to use. Other documents like FAQs, user guides, and troubleshooting guides will help users solve problems.
This stage begins as soon as the coding phase is completed. In most cases, the coding and testing teams work in parallel to find and clear the bug and satisfy the test cases during this stage. The testing team’s primary goal is to ensure that every feature and aspect works as expected. Some aspects of testing, like security, are automated. The team creates various environments to test the performance of the software application. It should work seamlessly without any lags or delays.
The testing team extensively uses an SRS document to understand the requirements, boundary conditions, test cases, and objectives. SRS documents are also used to identify the software, tools and techniques the team has to use to perform the testing. The end product of testing would be to reduce the glitches to promote a better user experience.
The deployment phase is highly automated. This process won’t be visible in most well-developed software development companies. The process would be a bit manual in a less matured software development company, mainly for approvals. In this stage, the developers will initially push the software application to various environments, and all types of stakeholders will be able to use the application to its full extent.
Various bugs, user interface errors, and usability issues will be corrected in this stage. Once this initial deployment is complete, the software will be pushed to the public for global access. If the application is for internal use, it would be installed on the company’s server, making it accessible for everyone in the company.
Operations & Maintenance
Now that the software is out for usage doesn’t mean that the software development cycle has ended. Now that the software application is in use, the user might have discovered more bugs, which the software development company should update. There also should be frequent updates to the software that has rectified the bugs and issues present in the software.
For software of small scale, the maintenance phase might be small as the number of bugs to be fixed will be minimal. If we are talking about a massive project, the maintenance must have a unique team to deal with the bugs and push new features in the latest updates. There would be an additional life cycle that would be designed to cater to the maintenance and operation support for the software.
Following these seven phases of the software development life cycle is very critical for the success of the project. For any IT professional, it is crucial to understand how an SDLC process would work. If you plan on building new software, follow these 7 phases to ensure that you have created efficient, cost-effective, and perfect software. If you have any difficulties, feel free to contact a software development company that can guide you in every step to concur your goal.