How many times have you heard the question, “What is Software Development Life Cycle?” The answer to this question can vary depending on who you ask. Some people say it is a set of steps that are followed during the development process for an application or software program. Others will say it’s just another way to refer to how long it takes for an app to be developed and released.
If you’re looking for more specific information about SDLC, then continue reading! In this post, we’ll cover what SDLC is as well as its 7 stages: Planning, Requirements Gathering, Design Implementation & prototyping, Software development, Testing, Deployment and Maintenance.
What Is the Software Development Life Cycle?
Let’s start by answering the big question. The software development life cycle (SDLC) is a process that software developers go through when creating new applications. It is a systematic process that goes through various stages from conception to completion and maintenance.
SDLC is important for project development because it allows developers to analyze requirements, stick to a schedule, avoid mistakes, stay organized and ultimately save costs.
In short, with the help of SDLC, you can take a project concept and turn it into a fully functional strategy.
What Are the Stages of SDLC?
The Software Development Life Cycle is composed of various stages before an application can be released to the market. There are seven major stages that make up the software development life cycle.
- Requirements Gathering
- Design Implementation and Prototyping
- Software Development
Each stage has specific objectives that need to be met before moving on to the next stage. Let’s discuss what these stages are made of, what are their objectives and how they impact the work of developers.
The Planning Stage is the first stage of SDLC. It starts with an idea or plan for a new project and ends when you have accepted requirements from your client (internal or external). The objectives covered in this stage are: Decision-making, Organizing resources, Scheduling development activities, Determining the budget and Specifying standards to be followed.
The main goal of the Planning Stage is to make sure that all project management activities are properly planned for before starting development work. It also serves as an opportunity to review scope, estimate time and cost, identify risks and determine how long it will take until you have your first prototype ready for testing.
In this phase, the established goals and boundaries help all stakeholders to ensure that they do not deviate and do not generate missed deadlines or unnecessary costs.
In the Requirements Gathering Stage, you gather all information about what is expected from your project. In this stage, there are two approaches: Top-down and Bottom-Up.
The top-down approach involves starting with a general overview of everything that needs to be included in the application or software program then going into more detail as needed.
The Bottom-up is the exact opposite. It involves gathering specifics and details about what is needed from a project and then going into more general information.
The main objective of this stage is to find out exactly what you need for your application or software program to become a reality, whether it is developed for clients or for internal use.
The Requirements Gathering Stage also gives you an opportunity to talk with your clients if anything is unclear or they are missing information about their project so that potential problems can be addressed early on before moving forward.
Design Implementation and Prototyping
The Design Implementation Stage is where you put your ideas into action. You start with the requirements that have been gathered and develop a prototype of what needs to be done based on them. This stage ends when the client approves or rejects both the design and any changes proposed by their feedback.
In this phase, designers create mockups of what an application should look like, what operating system it will use, how clients should interact with the application, etc. The main objective of this stage is to work with the client’s input and review any changes that need to be done so you avoid bugs or problems later on in development.
Once both parties agree upon what needs to go into your application, it is time for the Software Development Stage where you build all templates, wireframes, database structures and any other thing that is required for the application to work. This stage ends when you have a working prototype of your software program or application which can be used by yourself or provided to clients as requested.
In this phase, developers create the actual code needed to make up an entire project from scratch; it could be one large software program or a series of smaller programs and web applications. The main objective of this stage is to ensure that your work matches the specifications set out by both you and your client, whether it is for an internal project or for one owned by another company.
Testing and Debugging
Once all development has been completed (or during its progress if necessary), the Testing and Debugging Stage begins. In this stage, a series of tests are performed to ensure that everything works as it should including any bugs or issues which need to be addressed. This includes anything from unit testing through functional testing with both internal employees and clients involved in order for all concerns to properly be addressed before going live.
The main objective of this stage is to ensure that your application works as expected by either you or the client, making sure all features are present and accounted for.
Finally, once everything checks out with the Testing and Debugging Stage comes Deployment where both parties involved in development can deploy what has been built so clients have access to it. This stage is also where any problems discovered are resolved before the application goes live to clients.
The main objective of this phase is for either you or your client to have access to the completed program so it can be launched and made public.
Once an entire project has been developed, Deployment allows both parties involved with development (you) to make the final product available to the public or for your own use.
Great news – the development is finished, the software is deployed and made public. However, the process does not end there because the Maintenance Stage begins.
This stage allows you to address any bugs that may have been discovered after going live as well as make changes requested by clients. The main objective of this phase is to allow you to address any bugs or other concerns that weren’t discovered in the testing phase and were found out after going live or detected by your customers.
SDLC models and examples
There are different approaches when it comes to the Software Development Life Cycle. These approaches are known as SDLC models, and each has its own specific steps to manage the development process. Let’s take a closer look at them
Agile is a software development methodology that encompasses the end-to-end process of developing, operating and maintaining systems in an adaptive manner.
The distinguishing features of agile are iteration speed, iterative development, end-user involvement or empowerment, prioritizing quick feedbacks to allow fast adaptations, cooperation across cross-functional teams with interchangeable skillsets to ensure synergy in the workflow.
The Waterfall Model is a sequential development model, which consists of several phases that must be completed in order.
In each phase or stage, one major task should advance to the next consecutive phase before another one starts. This means that for this particular approach: once Development has begun it cannot turn back and start over again; Testing can only begin once Development is finished.
This model may seem straightforward, but it does have its limitations: for example, if a significant amount of modifications are requested after the initial design has been approved and implemented into software – this could mean that starting over from scratch would be required instead of updating previous phases to accommodate these changes.
The iterative model is the OOP approach to development. It uses an incremental, modular design method where various iterations are combined until you have a final product that meets requirements for quality and completeness.
This is a very flexible approach, especially because it allows you to incorporate client feedback early on in development and avoid costly changes once coding has started. However, even though this method can be beneficial for some cases – if requirements are not well-defined or confirmed before starting into design then there is a big chance that they will change along the way.
The DevOps model
DevOps is a software development methodology that enables you to produce higher-quality applications at greater speed using continuous integration, automation and collaboration. In the DevOps approach, everyone involved in an IT project participates throughout all stages – from design and coding through testing and deployment.
By involving each team member early on into the process, they can identify potential issues and develop solutions before they become big problems.
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As you can see, there are numerous SDLC models out there. Each one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages; however, the most important thing is to identify your needs before deciding on which approach would best suit your project.
Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of what SDLC is and how it applies to software development. If you’d like to learn more about the subject, feel free to browse through other articles on our blog! Thank you for reading.