SDLC is a structure that the development team follows within an organization.
In simple words, it is the framework that lists tasks strategically at each and every stage of the development.
There are various methods that SDLC uses depending on the project needs.
However, as we know everything starts with an idea and software are no different in this regard.
This idea then takes the shape of a document, diagram or a prototype depending on the SDLC model chosen to build the final product.
Regardless of the form, it combines a sequence of steps that produces a high quality of software within the budget.
SDLC is used as it helps you to shape the project and manage it easily.
But is that all that SDLC tries to achieve?
Well, not at all.
The popular misconception is that businesses see it just as a “cycle”.
But it’s more than that. So Why software development life cycle is important? Basically, SDLC ensures that nothing is left on luck.
So the process extends if more requirements need to be addressed in order to target potential customers.
The aim of the SDLC is not the completion of the project but the success of the software and satisfaction of its users.
This is precisely the reason why SDLC is more common in today’s competitive market.
Do you know, today software that focussed on user experience can become a key competitive differentiator?
Data suggests every dollar spent on UX can bring up to $100 in return.
This is where SDLC can get you a lead. It not just covers the technical aspects of the software but delve deeply on boosting the user experience.
It studies the goals of the software and quickly adapts based on user needs.
This is why it is important to have a well defined SDLC plan in place that clearly determine the goals, and delivers high performing product. It also ensures each stage of the process works to improve the quality.
The goal of SDLC is clear: Design and develop high-quality software within a short span of time and in an assigned budget.
Certainly, such a process that targets divergent goals, leave no room for pitfalls.
SDLC achieve its goals by following a plan which excludes errors that may creep in the development process.
This begins by properly evaluating the existing systems for bugs. Next, it understands the needs of the new system.
Based on the information gathered it creates the software.
This is based on a sequence of steps that covers design, development, testing and deployment.
SDLC works in this way to eliminate redundant rework that would otherwise arise after the development process.
No waste and high efficiency in the development process.
Many companies will divide its steps into smaller units.
For instance, planning can be divided into market research, tech research and indulging in cost-benefit analysis.
Other steps often merge with each other.
Like the testing phase that simultaneously runs with the development phase.
The software development companies work on multiple projects at a time.
So it’s important to make sure the development remains in sync with the goals and objectives of the project.
This is what SDLC helps you to do foremost. It makes it clear of what the problem or goal.
Plus, it makes sure the plan is implemented with precision and relevance.
The development can’t move from one level to another until it gets approved. Each and every stage needs to reported, reviewed and signed off by the project manager.
Also, it allows the project manager to keep better management control.
In this way, the client can understand the growth of the project better.
Executing software without going through a thorough process can lead to potential threats.
More time and money invested in resolving the errors.
This is what SDLC cut off completely. It ensures necessary testing stages are set at every stage. Wondering, why testing is important in software development life cycle? Keep on reading, we will cover this below.
So the project is completed tested before the installation phase begins.
Working on a software project is an excruciating process.
Every member from a developer, designer, to project member needs to know the ins and out of the project.
But what if any member leaves the project in between? Such unexpected situations can’t be avoided.
But what can be avoided is that nothing of this sort should affect the workings of the project.
It’s important that the entire project is well structured and documented on paper.
If the work is unclear on paper, the new team member will either begin from zero or make major changes to make sense of it.
This is where having SDLC gives you a lead.
It ensures that if a key member leaves the project, the new replacement can pick it up quickly from exactly where its left.
These are just a few of them. But SDLC covers all of the things. Without it, the loss of any member can set you back and may affect the project working.
Managing a software development process is not a big thing.
But delivering it on assigned time and budget without compromising the quality calls for a little more.
Having a well-organised plan in place is that “little more”. It helps you see stick to the budget and complete the project within the timeline.
When you have less time to spend on the micromanaging, more time can be diverted on project efficiency and production.
The multiple stages of SDLC are meant to leave a large room for flexibility.
SDLC model ensures the project is thoroughly tested, reviewed and worked to create a product that delivers success.
The goal of SDLC is to ensure that all the needs of the customers, users and stakeholders are properly taken into account.
In short, the product should meet the end goal.
This is the foundational stage from where the rest of the things follow.
Here come certain questions that need to be answered to understand this stage completely.
So what is this stage all about? In brief, it’s about identifying the current problems.
This begins by asking clear cut questions: what are the needs of your targeted audience?
How will the product work to fulfil its needs?
How will the technical performance enhances the user experience?
Without having a solid understanding of the user, you risk creating a high performing app that no one wants to use.
This is why proper planning needs to be done.
The planning to assess the needs, and quality assurance requirements are the topmost priority. The planning stage is conducted by the topmost senior members by getting inputs from all stakeholders.
This includes customers, industry experts, salespeople, market team and programmers.
It sets the entire picture for the project clearly. The information gained from all the team is then used to plan the basic project approach.
It also conducts the product feasibility research in all areas from economic to technical. Each and every feasibility study will help you to make the project better.
For instance, the technical feasibility study will help to state all the technical approaches that would be needed to make a high-quality product with minimum risks.
The basic purpose of the study is to fix the budget of the project completion.
Is there any legal requirements that need to be taken care of during the project development? This includes cyberlaw or other regulatory frameworks that might be required during the project cycle.
Here, the bottom line is to understand whether the team can create the operations as expected by the client or not.
Can the existing computer system support the software or not?
Review the entire plan and see if the project can be achieved on the scheduled time or not.
The project manager will point out the anticipated issues, strengths and weaknesses of the project.
Result? It finalizes clear cut timelines, budget and methodologies to achieve the end goal.
Once all the requirements are analysed in the planning stage, it's time to start gathering them. These requirements are gathered from diverse sources.
Like business stakeholders, industry experts, developers, designers and product managers. So the next step is to clearly define and document these requirements.
Not only that but the cost, resources, the risks involved and sub plans for resolving the risks are simultaneously laid out.
All this is done through an SRS (software specification document) which is created at this stage.
Once all the product requirements are documented, the next part of this stage is to get them approved. So here comes the customer or the market analyst which will give the approval.
The output of this phase in a waterfall project which is often a document defining the requirements. While the agile method may produce a backlog of tasks that needs to be done.
But wait, what is agile software development life cycle?
Agile and waterfall, both are two crucial models of Software development life cycle. Keep reading, we will talk about these two methods in detail below.
Remember the SRS (Software specification document) we created in the second stage?
The document not just state the requirements but also the design approach that needs to be followed in the development stage.
Usually, more than one design approach is proposed in the document. So at this stage, multiple tasks demand attention.
The first one: finalize the best design approach for product architecture. This approach is picked up by considering various parameters.
It involves risk assessments, product robustness, design, modular, cost and timeline constraints.
All the stakeholders review this plan and offer suggestions. After reviewing all these risks, the best design approach is picked for the product.
The next task is to ensure that the selected design approach should clearly define even the minutest details in DDS.
Failure at this stage may cost you more money or even a complete collapse of the project.
Thus, all is not dependant on just the above factors rather some tests are also conducted. At this stage, rapid prototyping is conducted.
This is done to compare different solutions and find the best fit.
Interestingly, this phase also includes two kinds of design documents.
It basically gives the architecture of the software product and it's done by the senior developers and architects in the team.
This is an interesting part of the software.
Aren’t you curious to know more about the content included in this part of the document? Here you go:
Brief description and the name of every module.
The clear layout of the functionality of every module
UI relationships and dependencies between the modules
Complete database tables clearly identified with elements
Thorough architecture diagrams along with the tech details
In simple words, this part of the document will tell you how each and every part of the software works.
This includes all the features and components that will be included by senior developers.
The important part of this document is that it will only include the design and not the code.
Database tables that mention all the types and sizes
Complete detail of the interface
Functional logic and computer input, the output of the mobiles
Mentions every dependency issues that will appear
It also lists error messages
All these information mentioned in these two documents will act as a guiding path for the next process. Let’s see how!
Development is the phase when the real action will start happening.
It’s the coding part. The coding part begins once the developing team gets the design document in place.
If you are new to this process, this phase might seem to you the longest. Well, that’s because the actual development will start from this stage.
However, if all the previous steps are performed meticulously then this is the least complicated stage.
In layman’s language, here’s what all will happen in this stage:
The developers will generate the programming code as per the above documents. Professional team of developers follow the coding guidelines.
They also need to follow the programming tools like compilers, interpreters, debuggers and etc to generate the code.
There are different programming languages that will be chosen depending on the type of software.
The different high scale of programming languages includes C, C++, Pascal, Java and PHP.
Tasks will be divided into various modules among the assigned developers. All scale of developers from juniors to senior-most will be part of this phase.
Remember this stage can take time, so business stakeholders should engage periodically to ensure the product is meeting the expectations.
You need to choose the right custom web development company to ensure a high-quality product is delivered in the end.
The output of this stage is a source code document (SDC) and a developed product that will move to the testing phase.
Why testing is important in software development life cycle?
The testing phase is where the product will go through levels of scanning to check the defects and deficiencies. A professional company offers a high standard of website quality testing services.
This stage is usually a subset of the above phases. That is because the tests are performed in almost all the stages of SDLC.
However, in this phase, the product will be checked thoroughly to report all the errors.
It is impossible to deliver a high performing software without testing properly. Once reported, it's fixed, reviewed and again tested.
The testing stage goes on till all the errors are fixed and the product reaches high-quality standards.
So what all goes in this stage? Let's have a look.
Performance and security test
The testing is done either manually or using automated tools depending on the process.
The best way to not skip any test is by automating them. This ensures the test is performed regularly and no part is missed for any reason.
During the entire testing phase, the QA team sits to report bugs to the developers. The development team then fix the errors in the report and send back for retest again.
Result? The end product created is stable, error-free, and work as per the SRS document.
The document is designed keeping the customer’s expectations and business needs of the client.
Testing can be automated using a few integration tools. One of these tools is codeship.
The output of this stage is a functional software that will move to the deployment phase. That's where the implementation part will begin.
Once the final product is thoroughly tested and is declared error-free it moves to the deployment phase.
Means it is ready to be released formally in the market for the audience to use.
Now the deployment varies from one organisation to the other. Usually, this part happens in a limited way at first.
For instance, the product implementation is conducted in stages as per the organization’s business strategy.
The product may be released in a limited area to test its response.
This phase is also called UAT ( user acceptance testing).
It is basically a replica of the production environment along with the customers and the team of developers conduct the testing.
The feedback gained at this stage is crucial for software success.
Based on the feedback given by the project manager the product will be released with more adjustments among the targeted audiences.
If the customers in the UAT stage finds the software as per the expectation then it is ready to go LIVE.
The entire deployment phase is a highly automated one.
Large scale enterprises deploy the software the moment it is ready to use.
But the enterprises with lower maturity involves some manual approvals. However, even in those cases its good to fully automate the deployment.
There are many tools for this phase. One of them is the Application release automation (ARA) tool. Many medium and large size enterprises use this tool to automate applications deployment.
The output of this phase is the release of the working software. Once the software is released in the market, the maintenance part begins.
Lastly comes the maintenance phase.
The software development work doesn’t end in the product deployment.
We all know even the well-organized plan never turns out to be perfect when completed. There is always some scope left for improvement.
This is arising more so when technology is quickly changing. The need to update the software to match the advances in the real world is huge.
At this stage, the software is monitored thoroughly to ensure proper working.
Once the changes made the task is to ensure it does not create any new issue. (know as regression)
The maintenance stage usually covers the tasks that begin once audiences start using the product. Usually, three types of activities occur in this stage:
A professional company offers complete mobile app maintenance services:
Bugs or defects are sometimes reported because they passed unnoticed in the previous stage.
Reason has been 100% testing is never possible. Why?
Because the way testers scan the product will be different from the way audiences test it.
Thus, the issues raised by the customers need to be resolved in the maintenance phase.
In short, the maintenance should be done keeping the SLA (service level agreement) in mind.
The technology is continuously evolving and so is the user’s expectations.
So it is important to upgrade the application as per the software’s latest version.
In this task, new features are integrated with the existing software.
This phase ensures that software continues to meet the customer needs. Also, the performance should be continued as per the guidelines listed in the first phase.
Waterfall Approach is the first SDLC model that engineers use to pick to ensure the project is a success.
Just like the name sounds, in this model, the progress is derived as flowing downwards like a waterfall through diverse phases.
So what this process is all about?
In easy words, the whole process of product development is divided into units or phases. In short, one unit is hugely dependant on the other.
The entire waterfall model is hugely documentative in which the status of one phase is dependent on the other.
This means the development of the next phase only begins when the development of the earlier phase is completed.
No wonder why this model is also known as the linear sequential model. The outcome of one phase will add as the input for the next phase in sequence.
The waterfall project is known for linear development methodology.
It means one for the next phase begins only when the earlier ends. This is the reason the project is easy to understand.
Plus, as the deliverables of each phase are clearly defined, there is no complexity left. That makes the project easy to manage too.
This methodology is usually chosen by engineers for short term projects.
Many short term projects rely on waterfall methodology where the requirements will not change. It's important to note that the model is useful if there are no unknown requirements.
For instance calculator, attendance management and so on.
The waterfall approach is the first and oldest SDLC model. It’s one of the drawbacks is highly rigid in structure.
This doesn’t go well with the companies in the software industry which needs more flexibility.
The downside of the waterfall project is mostly visible in the long term projects.
Due to its rigidity, the entire project leaves little to no room for revisions. So the problems in any stage can only be fixed in the maintenance stage.
This model fails in large projects. That’s because the model needs to be extremely flexible if it’s a long term project or an ongoing one.
Waterfall model is time-consuming & cannot be used in the short duration projects as in this model a new phase cannot be started until the ongoing phase is completed.
Can you point out one of the major drawbacks of waterfall methodology?
It’s rigidity! Yes, that’s right. It keeps the development and testing separate which can hamper some projects.
This is where Agile methodology takes the lead. Wondering, What is agile software development life cycle?
Here you go!
It is a very popular framework which promotes the interaction of development and testing simultaneously. On one side, where the waterfall is a “one-way road”, Agile is more flexible.
The agile model has been in the industry for almost a decade now. However, it's only now that it has become a big driving force behind major development processes.
This methodology has delivered high business value to so many organizations that it is now used for diverse types of projects like non-tech initiatives.
Well, the one thing that’s driving many organizations toward Agile is its “fast failure” approach.
The approach led to ongoing release cycles. Each and every cycle features incremental changes carry forward from the earlier cycles.
At each iteration, the software is tested.
Can you guess what real benefit it gives to the team?
It allows the team to identify the errors in the project before they carried forward to the next stage.
Identified issues are addressed and then moved to the next stage. The business stakeholders are engaged in the development process. It ensures feedback throughout the development process.
Big teams dealing in complex projects are applying an agile framework.
Due to the workings of the model, it helps the structure in more complex development projects. The model divides the process into cycles that deliver a working product quickly.
In the entire development cycle, the methodology produces a series of releases. Each release brings back information that is passed to the following version.
This ensures the product is built through small incremental units and not in one go.
Its emphasis on teamwork, prototype and feedback loops that can adapt the efforts in response to diverse requirements.
As the work is done in “sprints”, it usually lasts from 1 to 3 weeks to complete any tasks.
At the end of every sprint, testing is done specific sprints to reduce the risk of any failure.
This helps the whole team track progress throughout the project. Result? The team is focussed on its goal.
The unique part of this model is that it registers feedback in every sprint.
Testing is conducted in every sprint to reduce any kind of failures.
Adding any new changes or omitting any earlier changes in the agile framework is very easy. This is a beneficial feature for ongoing products.
1. Extreme focus on customer interaction
2. Lack of documentation
3. Agile demands extremely experienced and skilled resources
The iterative model can be confusing a little bit. So let’s try to understand this bit by bit.
An iterative model is like a waterfall model in the initial phases.
However, the difference is that it doesn’t attempt to begin with a complete set of requirements. So how does the development goes in this model?
Well, it begins by listing and implementing only a part of the software. When one part is ready, it is reviewed to analyse for further requirements.
It is to some extent a series of waterfall cycles. But instead of starting with a full set of requirements at once, the team begins to implement with a specific set of software requirements.
Then the ready phase goes through testing and evaluation to analyse further requirements.
In short with each new phase, a new version of the software is build up with every iteration phase. Rinse and repeat until the product is ready.
The entire product is divided into smaller iterations. Once the iteration is completed, the software is available for the customer’s feedback.
After the evaluation is collected, the suggestions are implemented in the next iteration. This is done along with new features. The entire model is divided into 4 crucial phases:
This phase accounts the scope of the project and all the requirements needed for the software development.
The elaboration phase details the working version of the software. In this, the product covers the risk analysed in the inception phase. It also fulfils other non-functional requirements of the product.
The construction phase is all about the coding. The code is created after analyse, design, implementation and testing are done. The architecture is then filled with the code which is set to be deployed.
By the transition phase comes, the product is ready to go LIVE. That’s when the product is deployed in the environment.
1. Risks are detected and identified in the iterations
2. All the errors are registered at an initial stage
3. Easy to manage
4. Complete specification of the requirements are not needed: This model starts with a simple implementation of software small set.
It iteratively boosts each version until a complete system is ready to be deployed.
Each release is developed in a specific time period which is called iteration.
5. Development begins immediately: If your software is being developed through the iterative model, then the process will start very soon. Reason? It doesn’t require detailed planning.
Instead of starting the development with a complete plan, the process begins with a set of software requirements.
The next is followed by a series of test, evaluate and analyse other requirements. At each phase or iteration, a new version of the product is developed.
This eases the process and starts immediately.
1. Proper understanding of the product is required: Without a complete understanding of the product, it can’t be broken down and divided.
2. Easy & less expensive to implement changes: one of the advantages of the iterative model is that it develops a working version of the project early in the process.
Thus implementing any changes is easy and less expensive.
Reason being, the developers create new version immediately and at a lesser cost. The version then goes for test and further rapid improvements.
3. Need more resources: The iterative model emphasis repetition. As the entire model is based on repetitive processes, it often consumes all the resources quickly. It’s important to keep a check on the system. Failing to do so can eat up all your resources.
The spiral model is among the most flexible SDLC models. This SDLC model allows the team to combine different elements of one or more processes models.
Broadly it combines the features of the waterfall model and iterative development process. Just like the iterative, the spiral model also revolves around repetition.
The model goes through four stages of development. This involves planning, risk analysis, build and evaluation conducted at every phase continuously.
Necessary changes and feedbacks are implemented gradually at each phase.
The aim of the planning phase is to understand the project completely. It involves gathering requirements and documenting it properly.
In this, all the requirements are gathered from the customers.
The software requirement specification document (SRS) is created for the next phase.
This stage is all about analysing the risks and then picking up the best solution. Once the right solution is selected the product is analysed by building a prototype.
Once the project risk assessment is completed, the coding and testing task begins.
Testing is a crucial part. The customer evaluates the project and their feedbacks are implemented in the next iteration.
The entire model runs on a large number of iterations. This can increase the time involved in product development.
One of the best features of the model is that it places a huge emphasis on risk assessment. Every iteration begins with thorough planning and ends with feedback and evaluation by the client. The aim is to analyze risk at every stage.
Each iteration begins by detecting potential risks and figuring out the practices to mitigate them.
It also helps the team to incorporate user feedback early on in the process. Result? A highly customized product created in the end. This is the reason it's mostly adopted for the development of large and complicated projects where huge risk is involved.
The spiral model has adopted the best features of the waterfall model and prototyping. The entire methodology involves rapid prototyping.
The spiral model has taken this cue from the iterative model. It divides the project into interaction. The development phase goes over and over in a spiral until the project completed. This gives space for multiple rounds of refinement.
Spiral development process reduces or even eliminates the obstacle of the traditional engineering development lifecycle. However, this high level of efficiency comes with a cost.
In this model, the cost is the “time”. To eliminate all the complexities, developers have to spend more time on understanding the project and different tasks. Still, this model is the most used approaches needed to improve the quality of the product.
V-shaped model is better known as a verification and validation model. Like the waterfall model, in this SDLC model earlier stage needed to be completed before the next commences. The entire model follows a sequential design process.
As most of the models are derived from the waterfall model, this one is no different. In fact, it can be considered as an extension of the waterfall.
It divides the entire development process into challenges. This means the tasks on one stage needs to be finished before moving to the next.
However, the emphasis on testing in this model is even more important.
The testing procedures are laid clearly followed by the coding. The idea is to generate a systemized plan in hand before the development phase begins. Here’s what the testing process looks like:
The phase begins by assimilating all the requirements and analyzing it. The verification part involves reviewing the requirements.
Once the requirement is assessed, the system is followed by a clear architecture. This is combined with product elements which are documented in a design document.
The document created will follow the coding part of the software.
Unit testing is conducted through unit test cases. These unit tests are designed and performed during the low-level design phase. The team of developers perform unit testing. Being performed on every unit, it helps to detect errors early in the process.
Integration testing is performed during the high-level design phase. This is the part of testing which is performed on the integrated modules. It is conducted by the testers.
In this part, the entire system is evaluated. Thus, the testing is performed on the entire system design phase. The idea is to check and locate errors (if any) on the system’s functionality.
Acceptance testing is the part where the requirement of the phase is analysed and is performed in the customer’s environment.
V-shaped model is considered a good approach for smaller projects. Reason being, the requirements of the project is defined and laid clearly in the initial stage of the model itself.
Another advantage of the V-shaped model is constant trialling. This makes the model stand out when compared to other software development lifecycle.
This model is used by engineers across the borders. Being a systematic and disciplined model, it helps to create an easy and high-quality product.
V-shaped model is considered not a good option for ongoing project complex projects.
Involving a change in the requirements at a later stage would require a high cost in product development.
Big bang model involves very little planning as it comes with no guidelines at all.
The requirements are planned and implemented as and when they come in the process.
So what kinds of projects does this model is actually used for?
Majorly, this model is used to navigate projects where the client doesn’t have a clear picture of the final product.
Thus, even the model is chosen accordingly that doesn’t have any defined process. The team figure out the project as they go along.
The model is adopted for small development projects. It is regarded as an ideal model for a project where requirements are either unknown or released at an end moment.
It works well on projects where the initial information is vague. Such scenarios require a model that doesn’t involve more requirements beyond their concepts.
Considered useful for academic software development projects.
The project is planned and developed as it goes. This means that under this model the project development doesn’t require extensive planning or scheduling.
Requirement analysis, gathering, and coding all is done by the developer’s understanding. This is the reason the project is mainly used for small development projects only.
This is the reason that there no testing team. Also there no formal testing is performed on the project.
What’s the drawback of this step? Absence of proper testing might cause the failure of the project.
This high-risk SDLC spend most of its resources in the development stage.
When have you last heard of any cyber attack news? Not long? Well, that’s because the incidence of cyber cases is continuously increasing. Thus investing in software calls to address modern cybersecurity issues.
Wondering, how does this can implement in a software development life cycle? Here we go:
The first step begins by team identifying policies and criteria clearly at the very beginning. This should be done in the requirement gathering and analysis stage. It will guarantee a solution’s security at the very beginning.
The step is all about the testing through different angles. By implementing threat modelling, the software is tested in different scenarios and environments. This ensures the security of the software does not remain at a risk.
At the remaining stages, the task of developers and quality assurance engineers is more.
They should develop a full strategy that approaches their work keeping potential security issues while working.
Also, the deployment stage should follow the state of the art intrusion detection systems.
The role of central source control repository is huge in the software development process. Despite that many teams take the risk of ignoring the source control.
This is where the threat to the software is increased multifold times.
The development team need to use source control both with the code and their process. There are many factors how this source control can help minimize risk.
It ensures all the work or code is gathered together in a single place.
Also, if the developer workstation or file server fails, the central repository helps a lot in saving the data.
Thus, it's imperative to use the central source control repository to increase the efficiency of the project.
So that’s the end of the software development life cycle.
Over a period of time, a number of SDLC models have evolved with updates and new features.
So if you are looking to build software that’s more agile to work, SDLC is an approach to consider.
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