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What is Software Development Life Cycle?

  • 11-12 min read
  • July 16, 2021
  • 👍 Rating — 5 (5 votes)

Implementation of smart software solutions is the need for all modern business industries. Most business owners want to make the workflow more efficient and the company more profitable. As any business area is not stable, it is always changing, the software should be flexible, scalable, easy to use, and maintain. Successful integration of software solutions is possible only with clear goals that should be reached with the implementation of software and an accurate plan on how to make it a reality.

What is SDLC?

Software development life cycle or SDLC is the process of a clear definition of goals and stages of building a software solution. It includes several main steps:

  • defining the problems 
  • specifications
  • design
  • development and coding
  • testing
  • deployment
  • maintenance

The crucial reason for going through all stages of SDLC is to meet all customers` demands and expectations taking into account timing and initial estimation of the project. Developing any custom software solution requires not only a strong technical part. Each customer should be kept up to date about new stages of the development, change, or updates. He or she also needs to understand everything clearly and ensure that the flow is in the right direction. That’s why communication is not a less crucial part of building the software as a tech stack choice.

Why SDLC is important?

Before the start of the development, the customer and the team of developers need to define the main tasks and structure them into a logical sequence. SDLC helps to make it easier and organized due to its simple stages that contain particular tasks. Among the main benefits of considering all steps SDLC are:

  • providing clarity for customers about the development flow
  • tracking all tasks and deadlines
  • accurate forecasts for delivery
  • help to be within the framework of the budget
  • strict following of all customers` requirements

Software Development Life Cycle is an inevitable and useful set of rules that helps to release holistic and multifunctional software that meets all customers` demands and transform their ideas into tasks. It is also a guidebook for tech and non-tech members of the developer team. All in all, SDLC manages everyone who is involved in the development process, showing them a clear plan on how to reach the goals and what resources are needed for this.

The stages of the software development process are general but their contents depend on the chosen model of the SDLC. It can be Waterfall, Agile, Spiral, and others. 

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Idea for software solution

Have an idea for developing a smart software solution for your business and want to know how to integrate it successfully?

How SDLC works?

Software development life cycle improves the efficiency and quality of services by organizing the workflow and following its stages. It also helps to reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs and stay within the budget. When it comes to the development process, the first step is to identify the problems the customer faces every day, and determine the main objectives of software solution implementation. This stage is crucial as it defines the next steps of the development. Planning is a key to success in all spheres especially when details are important to consider. It lowers the probability of pitfalls and errors of the software solution.

Check the video to know more details about the software development life cycle and how it functions.

After requirements analysis and creating plans and tasks, the actual development stage starts including the part of a design decision, coding, and testing. The testing part demands a high level of responsibility and attention from QA specialists. This phase is needed to reveal all bugs and errors in the software solution and eliminate them before the release to provide an excellent UX. The testing step helps to save work time and money as it shows the weak sides when it is not late.

Software development steps

Planning

No project can start and develop successfully without a care plan. All solution`s aims, objectives, and risks should be carefully defined and structured considering any details or potential problems that can appear during the process. Of course, it is impossible to think of all of them but an experienced Business Analyst will analyze a particular business area and determine the main risks. Planning is the initial step of each SDLC that helps to reveal the main difficulties that will be resolved with software and create tasks to reach the goals. This stage also defines the ways of the development that will meet all business demands taking into account time, budget, number of specialists, etc. 

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Specifications guide
We also recommend you to check our Confluence guide from our leading business management expert Alexandra on how our team do the specifications for a project.

Initiatives, Epics, and User Stories

This phase of the software development process can be called crucial. It is important to gather all information and business requirements from business owners to see the entire picture. This task is the responsibility of a Business Analyst and it can be performed perfectly only by constant close communication with customers. All business needs and demands will be later transformed into tasks for developers. After defining the core requirements of the software solution, the specialists create a plan of necessary functions that should be implemented to meet all the demands. All objectives are split into three parts of the development – initiatives, epics, and user story.

The initiative group is the biggest one and includes epics and user stories. Epics are a smaller part of the development that goes after initiative. It usually includes the main functions of the development, kind of a filling of a solution. The user story contains detailed information about functionality, it is a specific and exact task within the epic. This stage also implies MVP estimation of your product considering the work hours of each developer.

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Epics and User Story
Find more information about epics and user story in the article on our blog.

Design

This phase of software development implies the creation of the concept for a solution. During this stage, customers can see the whole structure and a final prototype of their developments. It means that all documents should be gathered and all tasks should be assigned to the responsible developers. This is the last phase before the actual start of development.

SDLC phases

Coding

This development is clear as it is all about writing code and covert epics and user stories into the actual software. This stage of SDLC is considered to be the longest one and it demands scrupulous attention to every single detail. The code has to match all software requirements and specifications that were defined before.

Testing

The testing stage gets the highest rank of responsibility and necessity after the planning phase. As the software solution is built, it has to be tested by QA engineers to reveal any bug or error during the usage of a solution. There are different types of testing and ways of performing this stage. Usually, QAs perform a set of tests that included testing of functionality, system integration, interoperability, user acceptance, etc. After verification and validation of the software solution, it can be released or implemented.

Deployment

This is the final stage of the development – release or integration of the ready solution. The implementation process also has a plan that is written during the planning phase. After finishing all stages successfully, the software moves to production that depends on the complexity of the development. The straightforward release is for a simple solution, staggered release means production in stages if the solution is complex. And now the solution is ready to try by end-users. 

Maintenance

Production of the solution is not enough as it demands constant updates and improvements. It is connected with the feedback of users or needs for changes in the tech part of the solution. The maintenance phase helps to keep your solution ahead of the competitors, add new options, stay modern, and updated in time.

We are the company that provides constant support and maintenance of your developments. There are three different packages of maintenance that our team and we recommend you to have a look at these packages in detail. 

Package Cost
Basic $1740
Optimal $3232
Advanced $14440

SDLC models

The process of software development and the content of its stages depends on the chosen model of the development. We created a list of the most popular models that are used to build a software solution for business.

Agile

This model of software development was not frequently used for projects. however, the situation has changed recently. This methodology is now applied by more businesses for tech and non-tech projects. 

The main advantage of Agile methodology is a fast failure option. This model also provides the testing features at each cycle of development and makes it possible to change or improve the performance of the previous stage. These functions give the ability to reveal the smallest failures and fix them before it grows into a huge problem. This model also lets customers be informed of the latest changes in the development process. Agile is a good choice for complex developments as it dilutes and structures the stages for clarity of building. 

Lean

The lean model of software development life cycle follows the principles for lean manufacturing. It includes:

  • eliminate waste
  • build quality in
  • enhance knowledge
  • defer commitment
  • deliver in the fastest way
  • empower people
  • optimize the whole

The lean model doesn’t provide multitasking. Efforts of the team are directed to cut waste of each stage of SDLC by reducing time spent on meetings and the number of docs. The main purpose of cutting waste is to get more overall values for customers and provide a great experience of building for them.

 Waterfall

This model of software development is considered to be the most common and simple one. The process is straightforward – the next step starts when the team finishes the previous one. Hence the name “waterfall” – when one task falls into the next one according to the plan of each stage. The weak side of this model is that some details are not taken into account and each stage is not tested separately from the entire project. Consequently, it can cause serious bugs and other problems for the entire solution that can be fixed only on the stage of maintenance.

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Software development model
Have a look at the article on how to enhance the Waterfall model with Agile.

Iterative

This model SDLC implies a particular set of requirements, performs and tests them, and only then adds all other requirements. It doesn’t cover all objectives from the beginning of the development process. However, it makes the option of changes or adding new functions much easier and less expensive. The weak side of this model is swallowing the resources too quickly.

Spiral

The spiral model of SDLC is considered to be the most flexible one. It is similar to an iterative model by its repetitive character. This model of development includes four main stages:

  • planning
  • risk analysis
  • coding
  • estimation

Its spiral nature gives the ability to make improvements during each stage. The spiral model of software development suits huge projects and lets developers build fully customized solutions considering potential risks and trying to avoid them. It also implies the ability to test the solution by users to reveal errors and give feedback. 

DevOps

DevOps model of SDLC is a rather new one on the market. It unites developers and operations teams to produce highly qualified and more reliable software with a wide range of functions. It usually emerges two models of software development software – Agile and Lean. It gives the ability to make little updates of the solution on a constant basis according to the feedbacks. 

DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes.

Amazon

When it comes to the choice of the SDLC model, you along with the team you hired need to think carefully and take into account all objectives for the software solution. That is why you should choose the team of developers responsibly and ensure their experience and portfolio.

The development of software solution involves the entire team of specialists: Business Analyst, Scrum master, architect or technical lead, frontend and backend developers, QA engineers, maintenance team.
Each phase of the software development life cycle has its own value. Among the steps that need careful attention are planning, requirements, and testing. Business Analyst will help you to define all business needs and build a plan on how to make them a reality. The testing phase reveals the potential errors in the work of the solution and resolves them at once.
After production, the development of technologies doesn’t stop. The maintenance team helps to track the latest updates and implement them into your solution. It improves the user experience and the level of modernity of your software.

To conclude

The stages of the software development life cycle vary depending on the requirements of a particular company and business industry. SDLC can be changed or wide according to the needs of customers. It helps to dilute tasks and responsibilities for all required functions and perform them following the main plan. Nevertheless, each step should be taken into account and performed accurately for successfully launching the product.

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Software for business

Ready to go through all steps of SDLC and build a custom software that will meet all your business needs?

Anastasiia Mikula

Creator

Due to my Master`s Degree in journalism, I focus on the details while doing the research on the topic. My particular curiosity is about the latest mobile app developments that start in 2015 that make life easier and save much time to spend it more productive. I am an expert in reviewing and consulting web projects related to web applications, especially if they are connected with wearables.
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