The simplest explanation
What is Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)?
SDLC or Software Development Lifecycle basically have five phases to develop software with the best quality and optimized design. These phases are structured in a methodical way and could be just one-time visit to each phase or can be iterative based on the type of Software Development Lifecycle model that you are following.
It has five different stages for development of an IT project to describe and imbibe different stages and activities involved in each step. It tends to evolve for an organization or a team as they grow and hence can be modified and improved with their experience.
Below are five different stages of SDLC process with the steps involved in each of them and kind of value they tend to add to the product.
Here, brainstorming happens, and a specialist discusses and gathers various requirement of the project. They tend to discuss the various aspects and future of the software product and try to imbibe what their customer wants and what are his requirements and what he exactly want from the product.
They also tend to analyze the feasibility of developing that software product and what all kind of technical and other difficulties they can come across while the development takes place.
They may see that they need an extra resource for that kind of specialties to develop that product or who all the stakeholders, what value will the product add to the company’s future etc.
They also tend to see what is exactly in the scope of the project and what is not in the scope of the project. Many a time if this is not defined properly right at the beginning then the resource tends to get wasted in a lot of unnecessary tasks like gold plating to please the customer.
Also, they tend to decide how they will cater to any kind of changes that might occur in the project and how the operation and maintenance of the project will take place once the product is fully developed.
The very next phase of SDLC is Design Phase. Any kind of software requires a prototype to understand various kinds of complexities involved while developing it.
This kind of prototype is also required by the team to understand the feasibility of the project and it further breaks down the software product for the developers for ease of development.
It involves both the design aesthetics of the project and the technical aspects of it. It is designed at a very high level and while team approves it, customer approval also follows at this stage.
This formally gives shape to the product as described by the customer and what the architects and projects managers of understanding out of it.
At this phase, the technical details and various kinds of risks and project constraints are also reviewed, and the best design approach is approved for the further development of the project.
The product may be divided into various modules to be catered at different times in the project and the flows and database communication are discussed.
Also, a formal Design Specification Document is produced at the end of this phase. This phase mostly is with the System Analysts of the project who work on various aspects of the project and produce this Specification Document.
The third phase is most crucial in Software Development Lifecycle. Here is when the software product takes shape. The developers start to code the software product as per the specification document submitted to them in previous phases and start to connect it with the database of the product as developed by the database admins.
Front-end developers create the necessary interface and GUI to interact with all back-end processes and procedures as defined in the specification document.
This phase takes a lot of time and totally depends on the skill and knowledge of the developer, what the product will be. The developer tends to test the new code on their own before passing them to next phase where the testers test them.
This is the production phase of the development phase and is most crucial. If everything goes well here, then it takes very little time for the next phase testers to test the product and roll it out for end customers.
Integration and Testing
The fourth phase is about integration and testing of the software product. Here, the quality and functionality of the software product are tested to determine if the designed product meets the initial business goals as set by the customer and various other business stakeholders.
It could be an iterative process where the tester tests the component and gives it back to the developer to correct it and then tests it again from the scratch as many times this correction could have impacted other functions of the product.
Only at the end of this phase, the software product is fully validated for the final release. There are various ways and methods to test a product like exploratory testing which is experience based testing approach or some other form of testing approach may be implied.
Here also the integration of the software product may take place to the intended machinery to test the compatibility of it and its processing with that machinery.
Deployment and Maintenance
The last stage of a Software Development Lifecycle process is its deployment and maintenance. Here a lifecycle maintenance approach is implied which tends to define how the various releases and changes to the software will be catered and how it will be used to meet different business objectives.
Sometimes a developer or two may have to permanently implied towards the maintenance of that product and to cater to various client’s needs and requirements.
This phase may also embark the actual installation of the software product with all its components and database on the production environment. This usually may be struck with various kinds of complexities that come with this sort of integration.
During the operation and maintenance phase, the software is further optimized, and new functionalities and capabilities are added to it with time.
Though it may look simple, it takes years of experience to master each phase, it has given birth to various Innovative Software Architects who tend to come with different capabilities to complete different kinds of software products.
They also add a competitive advantage to an organization over others which usually determine the commercial success of that product.
This kind of resource capabilities also helps companies to get their customers to outsource software development to them. Solution architects are always looking to improve the lifecycle by making it more reliable, transparent and fail-proof. Using various tools you can automate certain parts and reduce complexities in software development. How do you plan your SDLC?