The word “Yǒulún” in Chinese refers to the circle of life! Recently, I was watching a 2003 Korean movie, “Old boy,” and discovered this concept. The circle of life has different meanings across several civilizations, and when you think of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), it is not that different either.
The concept related to the circle of life refers to birth, aging, death, reincarnation, and a loop of the same activities. SDLC is a process of requirement gathering, designing, developing, and maintaining software throughout the life cycle. The process repeats itself for every software you create, making it almost like- “Yǒulún.”
However, SDLC is not just important for excellent software development - there are several other aspects to consider like efficiency, cost, and business impact. So let’s first know SDLC and several approaches that you can leverage to improve the effectiveness of software development.
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a series of stages that helps in bringing a business case to realization through design, development, error detection, making changes, deployments and maintenance. It involves fixing errors that incur efficiency problems leading to overhead costs. Here, execution is everything, and that is the reason you need a practical solution.
If your execution is correct, SDLC has several benefits like:
Conventionally, the SDLC waterfall model has been following a linear path where every stage leads to the next one, and there is no way to go back to a stage for making quick changes. This approach becomes restrictive and does not allow software engineers much flexibility.
The entire SDLC model is distributed into several stages, from the requirements stage to design, development, and even maintenance. What makes this model so rigid in the modern software development landscape is the inability to incorporate changes that may be a requirement due to adding features or sudden changes.
Here each stage is dependent on the predecessor one and can’t be complete without it. The output of an earlier stage is the input for further stages. So, if you don’t have the full set of requirements, you can’t design the software, and similarly, without a design, the development will not happen.
However, the shortcomings of the waterfall model can be mitigated by an agile approach! An agile SDLC model follows the path of a river that changes the way whenever needed!
The agile model explores an incremental, iterative approach to software development. Several builds are created for a software project, and with each iteration, new features are added while constantly making changes as per feedback from tests.
Every iterative development is known as a sprint at the end of which there is collective feedback from different teams to understand the requirement of changes. The agile approach allows businesses to improve the software with every iteration making it an open-loop SDLC model.
Apart from the Agile and waterfall SDLC model, there are several others that you can explore for your software development projects like,
V-model explores the parallel approach where there are design stages executed on the one hand, and on the other hand, parallel tests are conducted. Both the verification and validation stages meet at the coding stage by which execution takes place.
The V-model is similar to the parallel programming approach, where you can code parallel to the testing process. One of the few advantages of such an approach is creating error-free software and reducing the cost of fixing them later.
A Hybrid or spiral model merges the waterfall approach with agile methodologies. What makes it more comprehensive than any other SDLC approach is how it offers excellent risk analysis. It focuses on the risks pitched against the cumulative software costs, which helps improve the entire SDLC.
Here the spiral loop has an outward approach that involves a requirement plan, development plan, test plan, operational prototype, risk analysis and resolutions, integration, etc.
Knowing the SDLC and its models can be a way to understand how it functions, and now let’s know why it’s essential!
Software development is not just about the programming aspect but an entire life cycle that begins from conception and ends at deployment. So, leveraging the SDLC approach makes more sense.
Developing software applications need a plan that can help reduce inefficiencies and offer high-quality products. This is where SDLC acts as a guide with a framework to build your software projects. With SDLC, the entire process is distributed into different phases allowing you to assess results at the end of each stage and formulate a well-planned strategy for optimal software development.
The SDLC process allows you to have a comprehensive requirement analysis, which is essential for planning the entire development. This phase not only helps in understanding the requirements of a project but also enables you to decide the,
It also allows you to form the entire project’s design foundation, so SDLC becomes crucial for requirement analysis.
Another critical aspect where SDLC has the most importance is streamlining of the development process. Every software development process needs an approach or methodology at its core for the successful execution of operations. SDLC allows software programmers to leverage different agile, waterfall, or hybrid models for a streamlined development process.
It also allows coping with sudden changes in the software development process or specific integrations. For example, suppose you want to integrate a cloud-based service with your software after the design foundation is decided.
In that case, you will need a different approach than the conventional waterfall method. SDLC allows you to leverage other models and define methods for streamlining a development process.
Identifying the Real Bug
Software developers must identify a bug before deployment, but leveraging the waterfall approach becomes challenging due to linear and restrictive attributes. SDLC approaches like the agile or spiral model are necessary to determine the actual bugs in the software and mitigate the risks involved.
For example, SDLC enables software developers to know the BMI or Backlog Management Index. It is an index that measures the number of open bugs or unresolved problems. You can calculate the BMI by using the following formula:
BMI = [Number of problems resolved/ number of problems occurred]*100%
SDLC also helps in the management of software testing and expenses for fixing such bugs. One of the critical aspects of software testing is the cost of test case development and execution. However, with SDLC, you can manage software testing costs leveraging risk analysis and bug detection.
Software Development Lifecycle is not just about defining the project for higher efficiency but also about mitigating the risks involved with errors. For example, a simple software glitch forced Toyota to call back 1.9 million cars.
So, you can understand why SDLC is so important for a software development project. It can help any business avoid such issues through a streamlined process.