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Software Development Life Cycle

Date
2 Sep 2021

Author
Laura Jones

The software development life cycle as a collection of rules and practices that helps connect tech, non-tech team members and project stakeholders to transform your top-notch idea into a unique software product or solution. 

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The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a terminology used to explain how software is delivered to a customer in a series of stages. SDLC is essentially a project management model. It defines different stages that are necessary to bring a project from its initial idea or conception all the way to deployment and maintenance. The aim of SDLC is to produce high-quality software that meets customer expectations. 

The software development life cycle as a collection of rules and practices that helps connect tech, non-tech team members and project stakeholders to transform your top-notch idea into a unique software product or solution. 

So, why use the Software Development Life Cycle? 

There are several reasons why SDLC is important when developing a software system including:

  • Offers a basis for project planning, scheduling and estimating
  • Provides a framework for a standard set of activities and deliverables
  • It is a mechanism for project tracking and control
  • Increases visibility of project planning to all those involved
  • Increased and enhance development speed
  • Improved client relations
  • Helps you you to decrease project risk and project management plan overhead
Case study

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The software development life cycle is broken down into the following 7 stages. 

The Software Development Life Cycle

1. Feasibility Study

‘Is what we want possible?” 

The first phase in the SDLC is the feasibility study. The feasibility study displays all the technical and economical aspects that could impact the application development process. The five types of feasibility checks are as follows:

  • Economic – Can we complete this project within the specified budget or not?
  • Schedule – Can this project be completed within the given time frame?
  • Operational – Do we have the necessary resources/skills/equipment to complete this project? 
  • Legal – Can we handle this project as cyber law and other regulatory compliances?
  • Technical – Can the current system support the software? 

2. Requirement Analysis

“What do we want it to do?” 

The Requirement Analysis phase is usually carried out by senior team members with input from stakeholders and domain experts in the industry. Planning for the quality assurance requirements and recognition of the risks involved is also done at this stage. It is about gaining a clearer picture of the scope of the project in its entirety. Requirements gathering and analysis calls for teams to collect detailed and precise information about the clients requirements. This will aid companies to finalise a timeline to complete the work of that system. Furthermore, a system requirements specification (SRS) document is put together which outlines what the software will do and how it will be expected to perform. It also describes the functionality the product needs to fulfil all stakeholders (business, users) needs. 

3. Design & Prototype 

“How will we get what we want?” 

Once requirements are understood, the design process takes place. In this phase the system and design documentation is prepared per the SRS document. These documents help define overall system architecture. During the design phase, developers and designers prototype a feature or map out a solution. Prototyping is useful for getting early feedback and informing technical decisions. Without prototypes, there’s a risk that the team will waste time on production-ready solutions that don’t meet user needs.

Design & Prototype Software

4. Development

“Let’s create what we want” 

The Development phase is the backbone of the whole SDLC. It is all about writing code and converting the design document into actual working software using the chosen programming language. In this phase tasks are divided into units and are assigned to various developer. It is usually the longest phase within the SDLC. Depending on the methodology, this phase may be conducted in time-boxed “sprints,” (Agile) or may proceed as a single block of effort (Waterfall) However, regardless of methodology, development teams should produce working software as quickly as possible. Business stakeholders should be engaged regularly, to ensure that their expectations are being met. The outcome of this phase is testable, functional software.

5. Testing

“Did we get what we want?” 

In this phase the team will puttee code through its paces and test for defects and deficiencies. Those defects are reported, tracked, fixed and retested until the product reaches the quality standards. The outcome of this phase is to produce a better solution that meets user needs. Developers are unable to code for every eventuality so the fresh perspective that testing brings is invaluable. 

6. Deployment & Integration

“Let’s start using what we got” 

The deployment phase involves taking code and putting it somewhere people can use it. Depending on the size of the project this could be as simple as deploying the code onto a web server. Alternatively, larger scale enterprises may require integration with several different systems. Once deployed system analysts or end-users can actually see and try out the ready application.

Deploy & Integrate software

7. Maintenance

“Let’s take care of what we’ve got” 

The maintenance phase is the ‘end of the beginning’ so to speak. The software development cycle doesn’t end here. Software must be monitored continually to ensure apt operation. The following activities occur during maintenance:

  • Bug fixing – Bugs are reported and resolved by the developers
  • Upgrade – Upgrading the application to the newest version of the software
  • Enhancement – Adding new features into the existing software

The main focus of this SDLC phase is to ensure that needs continue to be met and that the system continues to perform as per the specification mentioned in the first phase.

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Summary

The software development life cycle as a structured repetitive process differs from company to company. Although there are several SDLC models out there, such as Agile, Waterfall, Spiral and Prototype to name a few, however, the end goal is the same. Its aim is to deliver the best quality product that satisfies the needs of each and every customer. The SDLC can be shaped or adjusted to the needs of each particular project to ensure that specific and unique goals are achieved. It is a foundation to work from. SDLC when done correctly can facilitate the highest level of management control and documentation. Developers understand what they should build and why. All parties agree on the goal upfront and see a clear plan for arriving at that goal. Everyone understands the costs and resources required.

The team at Reach will be there to manage your project every step of the way. We are able to assist with ideas and input into potential features, structures, reporting and user theory. We do this based on our expertise in application development to maximise success in each milestone area. 

Our passion is discovering how to deliver value to our clients – whatever size, whatever sector. Think we could be a good fit? Get in touch to discuss your project today.