Software Development Life Cycle Phases

Software Development Management - MAR 2023
Karl Kjer
Ph.D. and Technical Writer
Karl Kjer, Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, is an accomplished writer and researcher with over 70 published papers, many of which have received multiple citations. Karl's extensive experience in simplifying complex topics makes his articles captivating and easy to understand.
Software Development Life Cycle Phases

Like any new project, finding the best solutions to manage it can make or break a company's next big deal. Efficiency is no stranger when it comes to software development, either. That's why it's essential to understand the software development life cycle (SDLC) and its phases.

This article will explain and overview of the different phases in SDLCs and how they work together to create successful software solutions.

What does SDLC mean?

Software Development Life Cycle is a collection of stages followed by software developers while designing, creating, and deploying software solutions. It helps them build products effectively by following a well-defined process from concept to deployment. However, a complete cycle consists of several distinct tasks that should be carried out precisely for the best outcomes.

The SDLC is a model that provides the foundation upon which all software projects are built. It outlines the stages of development, provides a framework for managing projects, and sets industry standards for communication among stakeholders throughout the life cycle. So if you want to be successful in software development, it's important to familiarize yourself with the SDLC. 

How does SDLC work?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process that organizations use to create and manage software projects from beginning to end. It is used to ensure quality and successful product delivery. By following the SDLC, organizations can efficiently manage their software development projects and save time and money.

Software Development Life Cycle Phases

The SDLC consists of various phases or steps, each with a purpose. Here is a guide on how each phase of an agile software development life cycle works.

1. Assessing Project Requirements

Requirements analysis is the first step in the software development life cycle (SDLC). It involves gathering and analyzing information about the project to guide actions. During this stage, it is important to ask critical questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of the new project?
  • What does the business expect to gain from it?
  • How will the software developer team approach the code? Is it upgrading or starting from scratch?
  • Are there any strict deadlines to meet?

The answers to these questions will help better understand what needs to be done and how long it will take. This process also helps identify potential risks or issues during development. Requirements analysis allows for a more detailed action plan and clarifies what needs to be accomplished. It also allows for better communication between stakeholders, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and goals.

One of the best ways to have an in-depth assessment of all the project requirements is to meet with the stakeholders to discuss the project in detail.

2. Feasibility Study

The second step in the software development life cycle (SDLC) involves evaluating a proposed project to determine if it is technically, economically, and legally feasible. During this stage, the team will analyze the project's potential costs, benefits, and risks. The goal of this phase is to decide whether the project should be pursued.

Business analysts and seniors of the company usually perform this segment of the software development project. They will look at the project from a financial and technical perspective to determine if it is worth investing in.

After all required research has been performed, the next step is drafting a document with all the necessary specifications and details. This document will be a reference for the rest of the project.

3. Designing

During this stage, the team will create a detailed plan for how to develop the software. These segments will be based on the previously approved requirement specification document. It will help improve the overall performance with clear guidelines on the system architecture.

Depending on the type of software development, the operations team, and overall management, there are usually two documents prepared for the design stage. The first is a brief description and name of each module, similar to an outline of a research paper. The latter is a High-Level Design (HLD) document that details a software system's architecture, designs, and interfaces. It provides stakeholders with an accurate and comprehensive overview of the system's development, from high-level requirements to detailed design specifications.

A well-written HLD guides developers to get a big-picture overview of system components and interactions. Furthermore, it can help project managers better control scope creep by highlighting potential risks associated with changes to existing requirements or introducing new subsystems.

4. Developing and Programming Software

During the developmental stage, code is written, and the application is built by the design documents and expected specifications. Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools verify that the product code follows these established guidelines. To create software, developers must obey any coding regulations set by their organization and use compilers, debuggers, and other tools. Knowing languages like C++ and PHP is usually a requirement.

Despite the thorough preparation, the development phase of a software project can still be lengthy due to bugs and other potential issues. When planning the Software Development Life Cycle, it is essential to anticipatethis. Staying up-to-date on technology and programming language changes is vital for developers to prevent complications. Developers need to be patient and dedicated in the development process to produce a successful application.

5. Detailed Software Evaluation

Testing is essential to software development as it ensures that the product meets customer needs and expectations. It also helps identify potential problems before they become major issues, saving time, money and your reputation in the long run. Additionally, testing can help to ensure that users have a positive experience using the software. By going through this rigorous testing process, companies can ensure their products are reliable and secure for their customers.

Developers look for any bugs or defects that may be present, which they then communicate to the development team. Tests can be performed for:

  • Code quality evaluates the application’s source code to ensure it meets industry standards.
  • Unit testing (functional texts) tests individual components of the application.
  • Integration testing verifies that different components of the application work together as expected.
  • System testing evaluates the entire system to ensure it meets customer requirements.
  • End-users perform user acceptance testing (UAT) to verify that the product meets their expectations.
  • Nonfunctional testing evaluates the performance, scalability, and security of the application.
  • Security testing verifies that the application is secure and meets industry standards.

6. Software Deployment

Software deployment is the process of releasing a software application to production. It involves packaging and configuring the application and deploying it to the target environment. During this phase, developers must ensure that all components are properly configured and that any necessary security measures are in place.

The deployment process can be automated using tools such as Jenkins or Ansible. This helps speed and streamline the process. 

Once the application is deployed, it must be monitored for performance and stability. This helps identify any potential issues before they become significant problems. Additionally, monitoring can help identify areas of improvement and suggest ways to optimize the application for better performance.

7. Product Maintenance and Enhancement

Product maintenance and enhancement are essential parts of the software development life cycle. It involves making changes to the application to improve its performance, fix bugs, or add new features. This process can be done manually or with automated tools such as version control systems.

Developers must be able to quickly identify and fix any issues. This can be done with careful monitoring and staying up-to-date with technology and program language changes.

The software development life cycle is an iterative process that involves planning, designing, coding, testing, deploying, and maintaining a software application. SDLCs help youmeet your customer’s needs and expectations.

Software Development Life Cycle Models

Companies must choose the most appropriate SDLC methodology for their needs, as each focuses on different aspects of product formation and gauges success differently.

The most popular SDLC methodologies include Waterfall, Agile, Iterative, Spiral, DevOps, and Lean.

  1. The Waterfall model is a linear approach that follows a sequential order of steps from planning to deployment.
  2. Agile focuses on iterative development with frequent feedback loops and rapid delivery cycles.
  3. Iterative builds on the Waterfall model by breaking down large projects into smaller chunks and making adjustments as needed.
  4. The Spiral model combines elements of both Waterfall and Agile models with an emphasis on risk management throughout the process.
  5. DevOps emphasizes collaboration between developers and operations teams to speed up delivery times while maintaining quality standards. 

Lean focuses on reducing waste while increasing customer value through continuous improvement cycles.

Where is SDLC Used?

Software development life cycle models are used in various industries, including software engineering, web development, mobile application development, and game development. Additionally, SDLC models can develop products such as medical devices and industrial machinery.

No matter the industry or product being developed, the software development life cycle provides a framework for creating reliable and secure applications that meet customer needs. By following these steps, developers can ensure their applications are reliable and safe for their customers.

Remember - The Project's Success Relies on Cooperation

The most crucial step in the software development life cycle is to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page. This means that everyone involved in the project must understand their roles, responsibilities, and goals. Communication among all parties is essential for a successful outcome.

The software development life cycle is an iterative process with many steps. It is essential to choose the most appropriate SDLC methodology for your needs. The project's success relies on cooperation among all stakeholders. By following these steps, developers can ensure their applications are reliable and secure for their customers.

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Karl Kjer
Karl Kjer
Ph.D. and Technical Writer
Find me on: linkedin account
Karl Kjer, Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, is an accomplished writer and researcher with over 70 published papers, many of which have received multiple citations. Karl's extensive experience in simplifying complex topics makes his articles captivating and easy to understand.
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