What is the software development life cycle?


Both large and small software organizations use the SDLC approach. These teams follow different development models, from agile to lean waterfall and others.

The Software Development Lifecycle provides organizations with a step-by-step, systematic approach to successful software development from gathering initial requirements for a new product.

6 stages of software development life cycle

Stage 1: Planning

The first step in developing new software will be to gather all relevant information from stakeholders and analyze that information to determine what will be feasible.

This includes compiling requirements, studying user personalities, and agreeing on the product’s purpose. During this phase, the team will also discuss the opportunities and risks of continuing with the project. This is why Software Testing help refers to this stage as both requirements collection and analysis.

Stage 2: Design

Once the team has agreed on a set of requirements and goals for the product, the next step will be to create a design specification. This should answer the question, How are we going to build this? For the product team, this phase will include prioritizing the proposed work, developing the product roadmap, and obtaining stakeholder agreement on it. This will help everyone on the development and product teams have a clearer picture of their goals.

Stage 3: Implementation

This is the stage where the developer team codes the product. At this point, the development team translates the high-level overview communicated in the roadmap into a tactical set of tasks, due dates, and daily work schedules.

Stage 4: Testing

Once the team has completed a version of the software, they release it into a test environment. Here the QA team and developers will check all areas of the application to detect any flaws, bugs or other issues.

Stage 5: Deployment

At this point, the team is satisfied that they have fixed all defects and that the software has been built to agreed goals and specifications.

Now it’s time to release the software into the production environment. This means that the product will generally be available for purchase and use by customers.

Stage 6: Maintain

Since the software is now operational and used by the customer, the development team will focus on maintaining the software.

Developers should be prepared to respond to requests for improvements, bug fixes, and new features. These requests will come from multiple sources, but the product management team will determine which of these initiatives will be on the product roadmap. products that developers will implement.

Benefits of the software development lifecycle

Software development teams see many benefits using the SDLC model, including:

  • Reduced software development costs.
  • Improve the quality of software provided by the organization.
  • Shorten development time by preventing fixes after the fact.
  • Help developers better understand what they’re building and why.
  • Ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide feedback in the early stages of development. Give all cross-functional team members an understanding of the costs and resources needed to complete the project.

Since the software development lifecycle model requires the development team to complete each phase before moving on to the next, it helps to ensure that problems do not escalate during the process. Using this approach helps teams identify and resolve issues immediately.

This minimizes their impact on both the cost of the project and the quality of the final software product that developers bring to market. However, the software development life cycle model also has potential limitations. These limitations can especially affect lean and agile development organizations, but their risks are relevant for any software company that uses the SDLC framework.

Disadvantages of the software development life cycle

This reduces communication and cooperation between departments

Since SDLC is a linear model and the organization does not move to the next phase until the current phase is complete, this approach creates information silos.

The engineering team is the only one that focuses on the project, for example in the implementation phase. This means that the QA or UX team may miss out on important learning during this phase because they are not part of a cross-functional team that communicates continuously throughout the development process.

It’s too heavy and doesn’t allow for much flexibility.

Another complaint about the SDLC model is that it can make an organization too dependent on the process. An important tenet of agile development is people in the process. This allows an agile team to make quick adjustments to their plan as needed

It is more difficult with the SDLC framework because the team commits very early to following a specific development plan.

This creates a single point of failure in the early stages.

The team defines the entire product development plan based on the initial requirements gathering and analysis. However, this first stage can lead to a failed product if the team doesn’t properly assess the market’s needs.

On the other hand, with an agile approach, the organization continuously reviews its product progress and regularly solicits user feedback. As a result, the team is less likely to create a finished product or a major new feature without knowing that there is a market for that product. The listed cons seem like agile development teams will find that the SDLC framework is inefficient.

But the SDLC framework can and is often integrated into agile development methodology. Agile organizations divide the proposed product into small development cycles known as sprints. In each sprint, they will quickly go through all these stages.

How does the SDLC work with agile sprints?

Typical agility sprints last only two weeks or a month. With a Sprint Planning session, the team will start each sprint. At this point, the cross-sectoral organization reviews the backlogs. They then identify a few projects with strategic prospects for implementation and assign tasks.

Then they will just focus on these projects and check their work at the end of the sprint. Eventually, they will move on to the next upcoming sprint. Process decoupling allows organizations to quickly release new features to market quickly and often. This saves them from having to wait to create an entire product before releasing anything.

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