What is the SDLC? — Phases, Processes, & Models

Standing for the software development life cycle, the SDLC is a systematic approach to app creation, a so-called project management model that allows teams to build digital solutions more optimally. Not only does it help optimize resources for software companies, but also it facilitates the development process, makes it cost-effective, and allows for flexibility.

Although every custom software development company has its own SDLC, this project management approach remains in a similar form, including such phases as requirements analysis, feasibility study, planning, coding, deployment, and maintenance. Using this framework, software developers can always turn back in time and fix what’s broken or receive approval from the client to move on.

In this article, we’ll talk about the phases and models of the software development life cycle as well as provide insights into how you can implement this approach in your own development phase. Read on to reveal the secrets!

Phases of the Software Development Life Cycle

The primary technique and approach to software development imply splitting every task or problem into smaller bits, trying to analyze each of them separately. The same goes for the software development life cycle model — it divides the entire development process into more feasible chunks of work that need to be done. So what are these development phases?

1. Requirements analysis

As the initial stage in software development, requirements analysis presupposes collecting all the available information about an application or solution that has to be finished throughout the current project. Its specifications, target audiences, features, and other crucial aspects are gathered as well as analyzed in order to build a clear plan on how to approach the app.

Planning before working with code helps software development teams, which operate according to the SDLC, visualize each aspect of the future application in greater detail, thereby minimizing the risks while maximizing the end quality.

2. Feasibility study

This software development phase aims to ensure that the requirements analysis resonates with the corporate culture and business goals and will not empty the resources to the fullest. In other words, the development team evaluates every detail touching upon the future application to establish its feasibility level and make changes if needed.

Usually, this development cycle ends with a self-explanatory software requirements specification document (SRS). It must be approved by the Tech Lead and the client (for outsourcing companies).

3. Designing & planning

During this software development cycle, a team creates the design of an upcoming application, including its user interface, architecture, primary features, cybersecurity aspects, and the rest. Planning serves as the primary preliminary measure to avoid possible miscommunication, repetitive revisions, or the emergence of critical bugs.

As a rule, the output of this development phase is a software design document (SDD) or the Detailed Design Specification (DDS) that provides comprehensive information regarding how and with what means to code the application.

4. Software development

As the software development life cycle and phase, coding involves transforming the previously built design into the system using a specific set of programming languages, frameworks, APIs, etc. A team of developers and designers work in conjunction to ensure the best performance, quality, as well as understanding of the target audience’s preferences.

In most cases, this development phase ends with a fully functional and straightforwardly testable prototype, enabling the team to move on to the next cycle.

5. In-depth software testing

It’s the stage when quality assurance specialists get to work and refer to multiple software test types, such as performance, functional, integration, acceptance, smoke, stress testing, etc., to ensure that the final product version will be devoid of critical issues. The result of this software development phase usually defines the future of any application.

Once QA experts are done testing a piece of software, the output of their work is a totally polished and functional app, which is ready for its primary challenge — deployment.

6. Deployment

Deployment means delivering the tested software to the end user. In other words, the development team releases the application for beta testing. Even though it’s already been scrutinized from all corners, it’s time for the target audience to say their word. The team can move on to release and maintenance only after collecting their feedback.

As soon as all the information is gathered and processed, the team fixes any issues spotted so that the app’s final version can be freely published.

7. Maintenance

Even long after release, any software product needs some updates or new features because there are no better testers than time and real-world usage. Production support engineers, QA specialists, and programmers are responsible for maintaining a piece of software even after it’s been shipped to users.

This phase ending the SDLC, the life of software products continues as long as their functionality satisfies the target audience until the features are deemed unnecessary.

While the software development life cycle is a somewhat abstract project management model, which is always kept in mind and never revisited, there are numerous more specific as well as practice-oriented approaches to building applications. Nowadays, teams worldwide take advantage of such SDLC models as the Waterfall, RAD, Spiral, V-Model, Incremental, Agile, Iterative, and Bigbang. For more details — look below.

Source: Program Ace