What is Software Development Life Cycle?
Without a Software Development Life Cycle or an SDLC, a software project would be totally chaotic and a complete failure.
An SDLC is what gets developers from point A to B.
It’s essential to clearly understand what an SDLC is if you’re looking to get your feet wet in this complex world of software development.
So, what’s a Software Development Life Cycle?
The software development life cycle or SDLC is the process through which software is conceived, designed, deployed and implemented in the shortest time and in the lowest cost.
Basically, it’s a checklist that developers must go through to finish a software project to satisfaction. It details all the different stages of a software project so that developers can perfectly meet (or even exceed) customer expectations.
What Makes SDLC So Important?
Well, continuous improvement and bug fixes are important to keep any software up and running without errors. Isn’t it? This is where SDLC comes into play.
A detailed roadmap in the SDLC helps developers and stakeholders:
- Get clear visibility on the project.
- Identify rooms for improvement.
- Assess and enhance the software, even after its deployment.
- Keep costly mistakes, redundant rework and other pitfalls at bay.
What’s interesting is that there are multiple stages in an SDLC and each stage has a unique set of deliverables that feed into the next. And that’s how a successful product emerges. Let’s check out each of these stages in details below:
Stages and Best Practices
If you start your development without being certain of what you’re building, you might end up building unwanted pieces. Therefore, planning, at the very least, is the stage when you determine your ultimate objective.
During this stage, specialists gather information about the software project, such as the customer requirements, feasibility to develop the product, technical challenges, security issues, resources required for the project, stakeholders involved, and maintenance. The planning process documents the scope of the project and even covers sub-plans to soften risks that may arise during the course.
After the managers lay down the project plan, the designers decide on what the software will look like from the UI perspective. During the design process, a prototype of the software is what the designers focus on to better understand the feasibility and the complexities of the project. Often, design-specific documents like High-level Design (HLD) and Low-level Design (LLD) are produced at this stage to understand aspects such as:
- Description of the modules
- Database tables
- Interface details
- Dependency issues
- Complete architecture diagrams with technical details
Once the best design aesthetics are chosen by the project managers and the architects, customer approval also follows soon after, to move ahead with the implementation process.
This is probably the most crucial part of the SDLC where developers collect all the pieces of information (such as customer needs and design documents) to give the software product its shape.
Depending on the specification document, developers start coding the software at this stage and connecting it to the database as created by the database admins. During this stage, the front-end developers connect the GUI with the back-end processes as per the pre-defined guidelines. Developers use tools like the interpreter, compiler and debugger to code the software.
Once the entire software design is translated into source code, the developers send the product to the testers who test it before releasing the product.
Integration and Testing
After receiving the product from the developers, the testers test the features and functionalities of the product to ensure that it perfectly meets the business goals of the customers and stakeholders. During this stage, testers look for bugs, errors, and deficiencies in the product, and send it back to the development team if they spot any issue. The developers fix the issues and resend the product to the team of testers who conduct regression testing from scratch to ensure that the product runs fine.
It’s only after all the corrections are made that the software product is given the green light for its final release.
Deployment and Maintenance
This is the last and the final stage of the software development life cycle. This stage involves the actual installation of the software product. Sometimes, the installation happens in stages where the project managers deploy only parts of the product, give access to limited testers to gather feedback and make further enhancements before making it available to a larger audience.
During this stage, the project managers decide on the maintenance of the software, in terms of bug fixes, upgrades, and further enhancements. The primary focus of this SDLC stage is to ensure that the software is perfectly optimized in accordance with the specifications made in the first phase.
Although SDLC involves just a few steps, it takes years of experience for the architects to master each phase and make the final product reliable, useful and fail-proof.
To gain a competitive advantage, many organizations outsource software development to agencies that have a niche in this area. Not only do these agencies specialize in software development, but they also promote a DevOps culture.
What’s DevOps and How Does It Fit In?
While executing a software project, it’s essential to create software within a stipulated timeline without compromising its quality. And this is where the concept of DevOps comes in.
DevOps is a people-centric culture that helps break team silos. It connects the Development and the Operations teams so that every process, including design, network monitoring, automation, testing, and product release, takes place in a hassle-free manner.
DevOps completes the software development life cycle. It allows software developers to be more responsive to customer needs.
If you want a secure SDLC to be implemented, it would be wise for you to outsource your software project to an agency that skilfully handles each of these above stages and promotes a DevOps culture.
After all, a rich software needs continuous improvement. And only an agency with skilled software architects and managers can tackle all the SDLC stages with absolute efficiency.
If you want assistance on the above, talk to us today.