Software Development Lifecycle

Building a sophisticated software solution is easy, and there are many techniques and processes to be thanked for that. Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC is one of them. Many companies choose to ignore it and fall prey to the hidden pitfalls.

So, does this mean this process or technique is incredibly important? Can the software industry not function without it?

Let’s dig deeper and find out!

What is SDLC?

SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is a method or a process that defines the order of development of a digital project or product. Unlike many other techniques, it is applicable for projects of scales and sizes.

It allows the project owners or managers to define a pathway from start to end that helps in streamlining the workflow and aligning requirements.

The process has proved to be helpful in various situations. There are multiple steps to implement the process and reap results.

Let’s have a quick look at different SDLC phases before covering them in detail.

  • Requirement/Information Gathering
  • Research and analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance

Based on this methodology, there are quite a few project management models in place that have been in use for a long time. Methodologies such as Kanban, Waterfall, Agile, and Scrum are based on SDLC – it is more significant than it might seem. 

All these methodologies have their pros and cons. For example, the Waterfall model is more suited for small projects, while Scrum is mostly used for large projects. Agile and Kanban, however, can be used for projects of any scale and size.

SDLC has been around for quite a while now. Software architects and experts have used this methodology over the years and found it to be a more favorable solution to workflow management and delivery issues.

It allows project managers and owners to manage the workflow in the most efficient manner.

So, now that we have enough understanding of what the Software Development Life Cycle is and where it can be beneficial, let’s explore the phases in detail.

Phases in SDLC

The number of phases usually varies from one company to another. However, most companies follow a more standardized order. Let’s walk through them one by one.

1.     Information Gathering

The first step is information gathering. And while it may seem straightforward, it can get complex sometimes, depending on the requirements.

The primary objective of this phase is to clear out any confusion and overcome any ambiguities that you might face.

Not only this, the information gathering face involves collecting all kinds of information that allows collecting necessary information such as the project’s scale, timeline and budget requirements, features etc.

The development company, no matter what they are building, will ask for all the information regarding the project or product development. Be it features, transitions, theme, aesthetics, or anything else – all this information will help them plan ahead.

Moreover, client feedback, market insights, reviews, market gap, competitors and their approaches will also be considered to refine the idea and get where you need to be.

Once all the information is gathered, and the go-ahead is given, a formal proposal is provided that encloses all the details of the project’s development, design, cost and more. As soon as the proposal is accepted, the project gets initiated.

2.     Research & Analysis

The research and analysis phase is of utmost significance. It allows key stakeholders to understand what the final product will potentially look like.

For example, if a software product is being developed for a specific target market, you will have to know what is needed to appease the audience.

The relevant research, analysis and background checks play an important role in ensuring a seamless transition. Furthermore, the deeper you dig, the more clarity you get. Analyzing the potential risks, mitigating them and assessing the deadlines are also a part of this phase.

Going through the business objectives may also provide a clearer picture which can help set realistic expectations for the project.

Moreover, once you have decided to work on the project and finalized the audience, then comes the time when you decide on the platforms. It is to be noted that this stage is a predecessor of the design phase, so whatever the wireframes are, the design will be based on that.

All the functionalities and features are explicitly listed, which allows the designers and developers to translate them exactly into a design and then a functioning product.

The formal presentation of all the specifications makes it convenient for everyone to understand the technical details of the project.

3.     Design

Once the research and analysis face is winded up, the project moves into the design phase. The main target here is to create a user interface that fulfills all the requirements of the project and is according to the instructions of the project owner.

The user interface is the screen or number of screens that end-users use to interact with the product. The designers are provided with all the finalized requirements and are tasked to design screens for all the different screens.

Generally, design elements or themes remain the same throughout the screens that are built with changes specific to the screen’s requirements. Designers usually create multiple variations of a page, and as per the choice of the product owner or project manager, it is finalized.

Following a similar process, all screens are created and finalized. These days, a special focus is on the UX (user experience) of the project. It was not like this a while back.

If we look at today’s development life cycle, it is much more efficient and uses techniques, tools and methodologies that would help fast-track its operations. Tools like Figma, Adobe XD and Sketch have made it comparatively easy to design screens and present an outlook that was unheard of before.

4.     Development

By this time, the project had made a lot of progress, but nothing significant had been built yet. That is when the project moves into the actual development phase. As per the design guidelines and instructions by the project managers, developers begin developing the software.

Again, there can be multiple aspects to the development. It can be frontend or backend – for these, multiple technologies can be used. It also depends on the comprehensive survey of custom software development cost that what features are finalized, and what developers actually need to develop.

To efficiently get the work completed, teams usually resort to formulating sprints. These sprints are short but active sessions that bring clarity to the work that needs to be done. Sprints make project completion relatively convenient and improve productivity.

Sprint is a terminology that is used in Agile. It can have multiple variations, but in Agile, a Sprint normally lasts two weeks. It is initiated with a meeting regarding the work done where the expectations are set for a coming couple of weeks.

By the end of the development phase of the SDLC, all the development work is completed and finalized. All the modules that needed to be built are completed. Moreover, in modern days, the software is built in multiple modules. 

So, when all modules are completed, all of these are integrated to work as a single system.

5.     Testing

After the successful completion of the development phase, the testing phase begins. In the IT and development industry, there is nothing that sees closure or deployment without testing. The stakes are usually high, and for that, testing is a mandatory requirement.

The purpose of testing a software or system is to identify whether it is functioning as per the requirement. Testers or QA engineers also look for any irregularities that may affect the overall use of the system.

To ensure a seamless performance after deployment, the testing phase is where the system is exhaustively tested. Just like the development, the frontend and backend are thoroughly tested as well as the integrations to see if they are working fine.

Depending on the requirements, there can be a number of tests. A lot of potential execucations are in store. 

As per the industry standards, there are different tests for web and mobile apps, as well as for the frontend and backend.

Once the software is fully tested with each module accounted for, a report is usually compiled and sent to the development team with extensive details about the bugs, errors and possible issues. The development team works on resolving the issues, unless there are none.

6.     Deployment

Moving on the next stage, the product or project will now be deployed – considering that it has reached completing stage. The deployment phase can have multiple ways through which the built system can allow access to the users. The product is formally launched, and users are now able to use it whichever way they want.

Again, as per the demands, each type of digital product has its own requirements and deployment guidelines. These are to be fulfilled at the time of deployment. The majority of the time, web software is deployed and monitored if they are functioning perfectly.

Similarly, web apps or some other systems that have been built may require an alternate course of action as per the prerogative of the product owner or project managers. 

At the deployment stage, many software and IT firms test if their product is performing as per the requirements.

In case they are not – changes can be initiated after approval from product managers. Usually, the deployment work is completed in a few days – but depending on the complexity, it can get prolonged.

7.     Support or Maintenance

The last step in the Software Development Life Cycle is the support or maintenance phase. Here, once the project is completed, tested and deployed, it is maintained. In order to keep it alive and keep it running, there are certain steps that need to be taken.

Also, sometimes, there are instances when the product or project needs an update – that is, when the support and maintenance teams play their part. Moreover, it is a probability that errors and bugs halt the operations, and in order to get them resolved swiftly, there has to be a team on guard.

Furthermore, we live in a world that is evolving rapidly. When we talk about digital products, privacy is one factor that everyone is concerned about. Regulations around the globe are forcing tech giants to step back. To implement new privacy-endorsed changes, support and maintenance teams jump in to keep things on track.

What Not to Do in SDLC

Managers and developers need to understand that there can be days when things don’t go right. To ensure there are no delays, here are a few not-to-do steps in Software Development Life Cycle.

·      Vague Requirements

When finalizing requirements in the research and analysis phase, based on the gathered information, you need to make sure nothing is vague. Vague requirements are bad, and they result in the loss of significant time and money.

When building requirements, it needs to be ensured that you have a clear objective of what the end goal is. Any diversions and ambiguities may result in unwanted delays. Clear requirements will save a lot of effort for you.

·      Skipping The Plan Phase

This is one of the biggest mistakes that most teams make; they skip the planning phase. Planning is the lifeline of any project, especially when you know that things may get complex later down the road. That is why one must never look elsewhere.

The best way not to get distracted while executing is to know what you are doing. Doing the textbook stuff turns out to be fruitful in most cases. Thinking outside the box might not always work.

·      Unrealistic Objectives

Getting started wrong is among the worst things that could happen. Many, when building products, set unrealistic objectives that don’t result well in the long term. This often shakes the foundation of the product and often comes out as a complete failure.

There are various other aspects that are linked with setting realistic and achievable objectives. The benefits of being genuine are plenty, and one must understand this. If this gets ignored, catastrophe becomes inevitable.

Takeaway

Software Development Life Cycle is a comprehensive process that allows the development of digital products with ease. No matter what project you are working on, it is always a good idea to adhere to procedures that follow the standard path. This way, even if you run into roadblocks, there will be someone to see you out.

Having a clear-cut path from the very start will ensure a seamless workflow. Dedicating resources and allowing everyone to align at a single goal while working individually with respect to their own phases – will make everything certain. 


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.