What is a software development life cycle (SDLC)?

A software development life cycle is the process followed in the creation of software, as it defines a methodology that helps ensure the improvement of the software’s quality and the entire software development process.

This life cycle is made out of a number of different and clearly defined work phases. Each stage produces deliverables required for the next. The data gathered during previous stages is translated into requirements for the next which at the same time are translated into design. Code is later developed according to the design and subsequently tested to make sure it complies with the requirements provided after the previous stage’s data gathering phase. After that, everything needs to be deployed with regular scheduled maintenance becoming the final step of the development lifecycle. Take a look at the detailed description of each stage below:

software development life cycle

  1. Requirement Gathering and Analysis

    In this stage we gather all business requirements. It is managed by team leads or senior members and all decisions are made by combining input from the customers, market surveys, stakeholders and industry experts. All of this information will allow the team to determine who is going to use the system, what should the system provide or do and then make decisions on what would be the best approach to assess every requirement in the most efficient way.

    Finally, a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document is created which will serve as a guideline when entering the testing phase.

  2. Designing the Product Architecture

    This stage will be entirely based on the Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document and will tell which are the best procedures to create an optimal software architecture along with its data flow.

    Main stakeholders will review the SRS while the testing team will create a plan on what should be tested and how it should be tested.

  3. Development – Coding

    This stage of the SDLC is when the actual product is built. After receiving the design documents created earlier, work has to be divided into different modules and here is where coding starts. This is the longest stage of all and should be followed as instructed. Languages, tools and any other details have to be done accordingly.

  4. Testing

    Testing is generally involved with all SDLC stages in order to fix and perfect the quality of the product developed. You run all types of functional tests like system testing or non-functional testing to help encounter issues that have to be fixed and tested again until the product reaches the SRS quality standards.

  5. Deployment

    When the product is tested and ready to be deployed, it’s delivered to a real customer environment to be tested again. After collecting all the feedback, changes might be required and the product will be released again with all enhancements in the actual target market.

  6. Maintenance

    Most of the issues will come up once real customers start using the product, meaning the software will need to be in constant upkeep in order to remove or solve any bugs or errors it might be presenting. This process is known as maintenance.

    There are a couple of SDLC models designed for software development process. Each model follows a set of unique steps to ensure the right processes of software development.

    The following are one of the most popular SDLC models:

    • Waterfall Model
    • Big Bang Model
    • Iterative Model
    • Spiral Model
    • V-Model
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