Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a well-determined sequence of stages on the way of creation of one or another piece of software that moves through the whole process of the development of a new software product. In other words, software development life cycle phases are kicked off with the decision of developers to make a new software product and end with the collective decision of users to abandon it.
The main difference between any software and any physical product lies in the fact that software can never be serial. It is always unique. That’s why dividing SDLC into phases makes sense in terms of both security and feasibility. The present post gives a brief but coherent answer to the question of what is the software development process| or SDLC. The general description of the main phases of SDLC is available below as well.
How to Arrange a Safe Software Development Life Cycle
Since any software belongs to custom non-serial products the development process should be set up as secure as feasible. Every customer (an owner of software) seeks to minimize financial and operational risks during the entire course of software development. For this purpose, several generally accepted phases of SDLC have been developed over decades of the software sector’s history. The phases may vary from project to project but the collective experience of thousands of software developers makes the process more or less unified.
However, the evolution of software has created a great diversity of products that made a one-fits-all SDLC barely possible in each and every case. That’s why different models of SDLC have emerged over time. All the models include the main phases of the software development life cycle, nonetheless. So, it is crucial to follow the best practices (aka the phases of SDLC) to arrange the software development process safe and efficient.
Main Phases of Software Development Life Cycle
Whatever model of SDLC we consider, the following phases are available in each of them with varying degrees:
- Requirement Analysis. This is the initial phase of any SDLC when developers start collecting as much information about the upcoming project as possible. They usually begin with studying the existing analogs of the software they are going to develop. Why do the analogs seem obsolete? What the users might expect from the new software? Which model of SDLC could be applied to the project to achieve the best business results?
The phase can be also called the software development process consulting since it includes a wide range of issues addressed. All collected requirements for the new software can be grouped into three main categories: user requirements, system requirements, and functional requirements. A number of methods can be used to collect such information: undertaking user surveys, consulting with some third-party developers, revision of the existing databases and libraries, etc.
- Planning. After all the requirements have been collected, the project team should create an approximate plan of the software development process. At that phase, the developers start figuring out whether it is possible to create a product capable of meeting all actual requirements. They are trying to forecast when and why the product might become no longer useful and competitive on the market.
Besides, all their further work will make sense only if the project is affordable in terms of a proper balance between the total development cost and the estimated project earnings. In some cases, the involvement of a professional business analyst in the software development life cycle wouldn’t hurt. The planning phase makes the team realize whether the project is feasible in the context of the financial and technical capabilities of the organization.
- Architectural Design (systemic analysis). This phase is about the scale of the project. Many developers call it “the plan of the plan”. It means the team should understand all objective limitations of the future software product. The developers have to choose the most appropriate model of SDLC. Both the scale and schedule of the project’s execution should be determined.
The very architecture of the product should be designed to a first approximation. Besides, a safe software development life cycle implies a systemic approach to such issues as determining how the new project may impact both the staff and the organization, which new skills the end-users will have to possess to use the product properly, what educational constraints can arise in front of the user audience in general, and so on.
- Build (programming). When the full analysis of the project and the clear systemic requirements all are available “on the table” the developers start doing what they say they do - coding. The input data for such a phase consists of both the requirements from a selected target audience and the information collected during all previous phases. The following two types of the product’s design: a logical structure and a physical architecture constitute the result of the present phase.
Programming is the most important one among all software development life cycle phases since the product as such appears at this stage. Software engineers create metadata, logical frameworks, data flow diagrams, and (in some cases) pseudocode. The developers start writing code in an appropriate programming language to build error-free executable programs.
- Testing. Many specs claim that thoroughly conducted testing brings half the success to the software development. Detecting errors before the product enters the market is important to realize whether the project can reach its business goals. Undetected critical mistakes can result in the sorrowful deletion of the product from the market at the end of the day.
The safe software development life cycle requires the product to be tested at all intermediate stages: module testing, program testing, product testing, user-side testing, that says, every piece of code that can be tested in principle must be tested.
- Software Deployment. This phase can start with the integration of the product with some third-party libraries, databases, and programs. The smooth interaction of the software product with objects in the external world is important.
The deployment as such implies the installation of the product on the users’ hardware. In some cases, the product needs preset adjustments on the user side. The integration issues are addressed by the in-field testing of the product in terms of mobility and adoption. It is always better to check everything in advance than to fix after-effects on the go.
- Software Maintenance. This phase is the final one among the software development life cycle phases. It helps detect hidden errors that could not be identified at previous stages. In other words, maintenance proves the workability of the new product. In many cases, users have to be educated on how to use the software. They are provided with both documentation and consultancy. The software code is updated in accordance with the latest achievements in technology.
Any software development process should follow a well-arranged and safe software development life cycle to make a finished product successful in terms of both usability and profitability. The best development practices beginning from requirement analysis and up to software maintenance have been carefully worked out by several generations of developers.
If you are looking for professional software development process consulting, contact us today to get assisted on how to select the most appropriate SDLC model for your project.