If you're running a small business and need to improve or update a specific software system, you might not know where to start. And, if you approach a software development company, they might not explain exactly what's involved in the development and deployment of software systems. To give you a better idea of what's required, we're breaking down the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) so you know exactly what you're in for when you tackle a new software project.
What is the Software Development Life Cycle?
If you've never heard of it before, the SDLC is a method that helps software companies produce the best possible software solutions in the quickest possible time, for the lowest possible cost. The SDLC consists of several phases that track everything from the idea and creation of a specific software system, to its deployment and upkeep. And, by understanding the SDLC, you can keep track of the software or app development projects you request.
What are the phases in the SDLC?
There are normally 6 phases in the SDLC, but we've added an additional phase in our explanation. Because we offer a complete cradle to grave service. The last phase, as you'll see below, is Maintenance. A crucial element in any software or app development project.
In this first phase, software developers and project managers focus on fully understanding the project. What is the scope? What is the basic concept? What must this software system achieve? With these things in mind, the team can create cost estimates and decide if they need additional resources. Planning also involves unpacking the risks - if any - and coming up with solutions to solve possible problems.
This is where the IT and development team sources relevant information and requirements for the project. Stakeholders and business leaders should be involved in this step, as they might need to provide extra data. Once this information is acquired, the development team can construct a suitable approach and determine risks and outcomes. Requirement analysis tracks the resources needed to complete the project - from data to number of engineers - and assesses the project's final feasibility.
In this phase, the developers start working on how they're going to make the project come to life. They understand the big picture, have all the information and requirements they need, and can now start designing the final product. The point of this phase is to turn the various software or application specifications they've received into workable design specifications. It's important to collaborate with stakeholders and business leaders during this phase, so that the project has been approved before development starts.
This is where the real fun starts - for coders and developers, at least. It's the phase where the product is built. Developers use certain programming tools, and generate custom code where they need to. There are several coding languages that might need to be incorporated, but these depend on the type of software being developed. In this phase, it's important to follow coding guidelines and blueprints to make sure everyone is on the right track.
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Testing and Integration
Possibly one of the most important steps in the SDLC. Although some form of testing takes place in every phase, this phase focuses on it exclusively. The purpose is to identify any defects in the product and track, fix and retest until all deficiencies are eliminated. Here, developers make sure they've met the requirements and that the product does what it's supposed to.
Let's go! Once the product has been sufficiently tested, it's deployed or released to the relevant market. Sometimes, this is a two-step process where it's released to stakeholders first so they can play with the product and identify any final defects before releasing to the market. However, some agencies skip this step and deploy to market immediately so that users can start using the product.
Not all agencies offer this service, but they should. Because any software solutions or applications require certain updates or enhancements. These tweaks to the product may only be identified a few months after deployment, but the software development company needs to be available to handle these modifications. Technology is constantly improving so that software systems can evolve as they need to. There's always room for improvement.
Here's a quick summary of the software development life cycle...