A Beginner’s Guide to Software Development Life Cycle

The guaranteed plan to go over budget, face setbacks, and hit financial disasters is to directly jump into software development without a well-structured and well-versed plan. Today’s companies trust more reliable and protected models to avoid such upsets. For example, adopting software development life cycle strategies helps companies spend their budget wisely and bring optimized results in a shorter period. 

This article will discuss the software development life cycle and how it works.

What is meant by Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC?

A software development life cycle, or SDLC, is a process to categorize different steps involved in software development creativity, planning, coding, testing, and deploying into different stages. Enterprises design unique SDLCs to establish a reliable iterative framework that directs the team through all important development stages. 

Phases or stages in a software development life cycle vary from one project to another depending upon business needs. Some most common stages included in an SDLC are as follows:

  1. Requirement Analysis
  2. In-depth Planning.
  3. Product Design.
  4. Coding
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment
  7. Post-Production Maintenance

Requirements Analysis

Defining the project’s requirements is the first phase in any SDLC. During this phase, the following question is important to ask:

  1. What are the objectives you want to achieve with a new project?
  2. What outcome and value does the company want to deliver from a product?
  3. Will the team create new code from scratch or update an existing system?
  4. How long will it take to complete the project?
  5. Do we have all the in-house expertise required to finish the project on time, or do we have to outsource?

Business analytics, operations, leadership, development, and security teams must work together to complete this level. In some usage circumstances, getting feedback from end users may be a useful information source.

A Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document is good to create using all the information obtained during this phase. An SRS file provides information on the following in addition to the software, hardware, security, and network details for the planned product:

  • Resource distribution
  • capacity preparation
  • project planning
  • Cost projection
  • Provisioning

Feasibility Study

Highly experienced experts conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the validity of the software. The typical strategy focuses mostly on these five elements:

  1. Monetary restrictions
  2. Implications for the law
  3. Operational considerations
  4. Available internal resources
  5. The time frame needed for the job

Experts add the results of this step to the current SRS document, which is then reviewed and approved by a group of decision-makers:

  • Project strategies and objectives
  • Cost projections
  • Envisioned timetables
  • The required materials

The project’s top management either approves it or instructs the team to go back to the SDLC and develop another proposal.

Design Plan

The team begins developing a design plan once the project’s direction has been determined. This plan will detail all the main features of the new product, including its:

  • Architecture (programming language, databases, interfaces, operating system, pre-made templates, APIs, etc.). 
  • Lists of features.
  • Infrastructure requirements
  • User interface design
  • Requirements for security (e.g., SSL encryption, password protection, recommended database migrations, etc.).

In the Design Document Specification, the group compiles this data. Upon consideration of the DDS, a stakeholder approves a direction after a review following factors:

  • Flexibility in design
  • Assessment of risk
  • The durability of the product
  • Constrained by time

In this SDLC step, some software development companies choose to develop a prototype. Prototyping may be time-consuming, but it is far less expensive than making significant modifications after the software development stage.

Software Development

After being comfortable with the DDS, the development team begins working on the code. As this stage of the software development life cycle takes the longest on average, we advise employing agile approaches to streamline coding.

Software that is operational and satisfies all of the SRS and DDS requirements is the result of this phase. The team must run the product through fundamental tests even though the code must undergo sophisticated testing (such as static code analysis and code reviews for multiple device types).

In-Depth Software Testing

The software developed in the previous SDLC phase is now thoroughly tested. Businesses use a broad range of testing techniques to assess the new product, which include:

  • Testing for code quality
  • Unit tests (functional tests)
  • Integrity checks
  • Performance analysis
  • Security analysis
  • Testing for approval
  • Nonfunctional testing

The majority of organizations adopt automated tests to expedite this stage. However, some manual inspections are also helpful.

If the team identifies a bug, the code is moved backward in the life cycle, and new, error-free software is developed. The testing step is complete only after the product is stable, bug-free, and up to the quality criteria outlined in the earlier stages.

Software Deployment

After testing is complete, the product is set for manufacturing. For some projects, the group must produce instructional videos or user manuals before making the product available to end users.

The deployment step should occur automatically (usually as part of CI/CD). Manual approvals may be necessary for businesses with less maturity or those operating in some highly regulated sectors during this SDLC level.

Most businesses roll out new software to a small group of users (10 to 15%) before gradually introducing it to the rest of their clientele. Progressive introduction limits the impact on the UX if a product flaw is missed.

Product Maintenance and Enhancement

Every software product that has been released has to undergo recurring evaluations and changes depending on customer feedback. The most frequent tasks at this phase are:

  • Fixing bugs
  • Setting up continuous inspection
  • Updating the app to the most recent iteration
  • Updating the program with additional features

The product goes back through its SDLC as often as necessary whenever a user reports an issue or the team finds a new fault. While most issues send the program back to the development stage, certain serious flaws necessitate adjustments in the design stage.