Software Development Life Cycle: A Step-By-Step Process

Software Development Life Cycle: A Step-By-Step Process

What is SDLC?

SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is a blueprint for creating a software application. It’s a clear step-by-step process to build software.

By following the SDLC, one can ensure that each stage in the software development process, whether its design, development, testing, or release, is completed successfully without any hiccups. The SDLC process can consist of a few essential stages and also include a few extra ones.

Software development life cycle adherence is one of the major factors that you need to look at while selecting the most appropriate software development company.

In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about the Software Development Life Cycle and show a few benefits of adopting it.

Benefits of Software Development Life Cycle(SDLC)

Software Development Life Cycle provides a wide range of benefits to the businesses, be it Startup or Enterprise, that implement it correctly. We have mentioned below the most important advantages that SDLC provides to the development teams.

Clarity in goal setting

Best Software Developers clearly know the goals they need to meet and the deliverables they must achieve by a set timeline, lowering the risk of time and resources being wasted.

‍Proper testing

The software development life cycle models will implement the necessary checks and balances to ensure that the software is thoroughly tested before release.

Clear stage progression

With an SDLC, developers are unable to progress to the next stage until the previous one is completed. You’ll be able to see a clear succession of stages this way.

Member flexibility

Since the SDLCs have well-structured documents, the dedicated software development team can replace the team members that have left the team seamlessly.

Perfection is achievable

The SDLC stages are designed in a way that they create a feedback loop. Thus, through a proper software product development process, you can iterate and improve upon the projects over and over until they are perfect.

7 Stages of the Software Development Life Cycle

Software Development Life Cycle

Software development life cycle typically has 7 stages of software development. Here’s a brief breakdown of the various phases in the Software Development Process.

  • Planning stage
  • Analysis stage
  • Design and prototyping stage
  • Software development stage
  • Software testing stage
  • Implementation and Integration stage
  • Operations and maintenance stage

Now let’s take a closer look at each stage individually.

1. Planning stage

Before you start the planning stage, ensure that you acquire a proper understanding of the software development life cycle. The planning or the feasibility stage is the stage where the professional software developers will plan for an upcoming project.

During the planning stage, the experienced software engineers will define the problem and scope of the existing systems and determine the objectives for building new systems. Ensure that you get a credible cost estimation in the planning stage itself.

The idea to develop an effective outline for the upcoming development cycle is to catch problems before they affect development.

Another major objective of the planning stage is to secure funding and resources needed to materialize the plan. The most important objective that the planning stage accomplishes is that it provides a timeline and cost of the project. Lack of planning is one of the most common reasons why outsourcing software development fails.

2. Analysis stage

In the analysis stage, the skilled software developers gather all the specific details required for a new system. This is also the stage where the first prototype ideas are discussed.

In the analysis stage, the experienced software application engineers will

  • Define system requirements for prototypes
  • Find the alternatives for existing prototypes
  • Determine the user requirements

In the analysis stage, the software engineers will create an SRS(Software Requirement Specification) document. The SRS document will include all the specifications of software, hardware, and network requirements that will be required in the custom software to be built.

The analysis stage is one of the most important in the software development process steps. You must ensure that this stage is completed effectively whether you are hiring remote software developers or you have in-house software developers.

3. Design and prototyping stage

The list of software requirements developed in the previous software development phases is used to make design choices.

In the custom software design phase, one or more designs are created to achieve the desired result. Depending on the subject of the project, the design phase can include diagrams, flow charts, sketches, and schemas. Usually, once the design is finalized in the design stage, one cannot make the changes later.

In the design stage, the dedicated software developers will first outline the details of the overall application along with the specific aspects of design like:

  • Databases
  • User interface
  • System interface
  • Network and network requirements

The primary purpose of the design phase is to prepare a detailed system design specifications document that encompasses all the requirements. The custom software development team will begin its work once the design is approved.

4. Software development stage

The development stage is the part where the offshore software developers will actually start writing the code for the custom software.

There are various software development models that the development team follows to build the software. The dedicated software engineers refer to the documents prepared in the previous steps to get a better understanding of what to build and how.

Ideally, all the prior planning that you have done in the previous phases should make the actual software building process relatively easy. The remote software application developers can follow the coding standards as defined by the organization and use tools like debuggers, interpreters, and compilers to finish the custom software development process.

The software developers can choose from a wide variety of programming languages like Java, C++, or PHP, depending upon the project requirement and the skill set of the developers.

5. Software testing stage

Once the software development phase is finished, it’s now time to test the software for bugs. Software testing must be robust to ensure that the end-user experience is not compromised in any way. The testers will test the software and find out any bugs or defects that need to be fixed and retested later.

The SRS document that we have prepared in the earlier software development stages is the benchmark against which you need to test your software.

Depending upon the complexity of the custom software development project, the end-user requirements, and the skill set of the testers and the developers, testing can either be an extremely short phase, or it could take a long time to complete.

The key is to find a balance between testing the most critical end-user features and not overanalyzing the software.

6. Implementation and integration stage

Once the testing of the custom software is over, the implementation and integration stage of the software will start. Depending upon the project’s requirements, the expert software developers will integrate different modules or designs into the primary source code.

The software engineers use training environments to minimize errors in the integration stage. In the implementation and integration stage, the software programmers install the system so as to support the intended business functions. The system performance is compared to the performance objectives that were established during the planning phase.

In the implementation stage, the hired software developers install the hardware and software into the user’s premises, conduct user training, and integrate the system into the daily work process of the users. Once the integration and implementation stage is finished, the software is ready for the market.

The implementation and integration phase continues till the system operates in production in accordance with the defined user requirements.

7. Operations and maintenance stage

Once the software is launched in the market, the software development procedures move into the maintenance stage. To function properly, the software will require regular updates and maintenance. The dedicated development team of software should start with the activities required to handle the issues reported by the end-users.

The maintenance includes handling the residual bugs that the software coders were unable to patch before the launch of the software. New issues will crop up when the users start using the software, and it is the responsibility of professional software programmers to sort out these issues.

Moreover, with time as the user needs to evolve, the software will require constant upgrades. In the maintenance stage, the development team will provide regular updates to the software.

The custom software development company and clients will need to discuss the cost of the regular updates and the duration upto which the developers will provide free maintenance of the delivered software. Understand that larger systems may require longer maintenance stages as compared to smaller systems.

Software development is not that expensive if a proper software development procedure is followed. With a robust SDLC in place, you can control the development costs and get the software delivered within the stipulated deadline.

Select a top software development company

Software development is a complex process, and it has a lot of moving pieces in it. Right from preparing your requirements to ensuring the timely delivery of the software, you as an entrepreneur need to take care of a lot of things. We hope that the software development process guide provided above will help you achieve your software development goals.

Top custom software development companies follow a robust software development methodology. Select such a company to ensure that the end product that you get is according to your expectations.

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