What is the software development lifecycle, and why is it important?
With or without exact planning, every software project follows a similar process from idea to implementation. This set-by-step process is called the software development cycle or software development lifecycle, or SDLC for short. In other words, SDLC is the steps that the programmer teams follow when preparing software. We at SOJECT perform these stages to fulfill our customers’ projects.
The software development lifecycle is the process by which IT analysts develop and design software systems and adapt them to customer needs. They consider the needs of the real world to make a good analysis.
Each stage of this life cycle creates an output that is the input to the next step. These outputs are one of these:
- A series of ideas
- Sets of documents
- A series of diagrams
- A piece of software
In other words: “Software never ends.” This means that even the first version of the software project can be considered a step in the software development lifecycle.
Benefits of using a software development lifecycle
It does not matter if you are creating a site using WordPress CMS or an extensive web application. You need SDLC anyway.
There are several benefits to using SDLC:
- It creates a common and understandable vocabulary for different stages along the development path.
- SDLC defines communication channels and specific expectations between developers and project stakeholders.
- It defines clear roles and responsibilities for the whole team (developers, designers, project managers, etc.)
- Provides a clear definition of the project’s final state that is agreed upon by all so that the scope of the project does not change.
- Determine how to deal with bugs, new feature requests, and updates.
- SDLC clearly defines the goals and problems of a software project. Setting goals will help you determine the right strategies and know which way to go.
- It helps the project manager know the route well and assign tasks to each team member. Without this roadmap, the manager can not divide tasks properly. In this case, he/she can not even define different tasks properly.
- As the software’s scope becomes clear, the programming team’s motivation increases. If the SDLC does not specify the software’s scale, some team members may get confused and lose motivation as they don’t know the exact boundaries.
Not having a software development program in the form of an SDLC means longer time periods, poor quality, or even obvious crashes.
This way, your programmers do not know exactly what to build. The project managers have no information about the progress and can not estimate whether you are behind or ahead and whether the project is going to be completed or not.
Software development process as a roadmap
Suppose you are stuck in the scorching heat in a dry, grassless desert. Deciding to have a software development process is like having a map with you or looking for a chance to find a settlement.
In this example, it is obvious which option is wise to choose. Let’s start by understanding the main components of SDLC and then looking at how to optimize these components by choosing the right software development process for our software project.
Stages of the software development lifecycle
Project managers are usually familiar with the various stages of SDLC. Everything you need to build the software, as well as communication with different stakeholders, development, and support the software in the future, are in this category.
These steps are the same in almost every software development process you use. However, as I will say below, their order and detail will vary depending on your needs, goals, project size, and team. For example, some steps may get combined or repeated, or run in parallel.
Planning and analysis
Planning is the first step of SDLC you need to do after a project is contracted. In planning, you should consider the following:
- Position: What does this project have to do with the company’s larger mission and goals?
- Resource allocation and Access: Do you have the human resources and tools to build it?
- Project Scheduling: How does this project fit your company goals and other tasks? Do you have enough time to do it?
- Cost Estimation: What is the realistic cost of doing this project?
Software project planning ensures that you are on the right track and not going astray. So try to make sure you consider all the areas that are going to be affected by the project, including project managers, developers, services, protection, and stakeholders.
You need to gather enough information to formulate the “scope of work (SOW)” at the end of the planning step.
Scope of work (SOW) tells us:
- What is to be made?
- Why is it supposed to be made?
- How to make it?
The next step in the software development lifecycle is understanding the needs. Every software project – small or large – is supposed to solve a customer problem. Beyond that, you need to know the requirements for developing a project.
The following questions will help you at this stage:
- What problem is this software going to solve?
- Who wants to use it, and why?
- What type or types of data input/output are required?
- Need to integrate and connect to other tools or APIs?
- How you control the security/privacy of individuals?
Answering these questions will help you extract the technical requirements and extract the technology stack with the team’s help.
A technology stack is a set of tools, technologies, and programming languages that are compatible with each other and blend well together in a project.
If you are using the agile software development process, this step is an excellent place to plan your sprints or break up large tasks and extract more operational measures from them.
After planning and finding the requirements, it’s time to start designing the software’s appearance and function. The purpose of virtual designing is not only aesthetic issues but the performance, data flow, and software handling. For example, software buttons, elements that the end-user works with, and in other words, “user interface design” are some of the things that your team should work on at this stage.
This step may vary in different software development processes. For some projects, there is a need to produce a prototype using software such as InVision. However, in more straightforward software, a simple wireframe may suffice. They show the customer the prototype to change it according to his taste and desire. Your team may need more feedback at this point. In this case, your prototype needs to be more comprehensive so that you can quickly gather feedback.
This stage of SDLC is very important. If you do not do it right, the result will not be what the customers want. Excessive and useless work, non-adherence to schedule, and customer dissatisfaction will be the consequences.
Coding and Programming in the software development life cycle
Building software is a major part of the job – one of the riskiest and challenging software development stages that determine the project’s final fate. Your goal should be to code the software based on SOW, consider the needs when working, and be careful not to enlarge the project’s dimensions without logic.
Whether we use the cascading software development process model or the agile software development process model, it is necessary to consider the above objectives. Depending on the work scope, an individual or a programming team may do this stage.
Software test in SDLC
As the development team is coding, software testing should be done simultaneously to track and fix bugs. After completing the features and preparing the product, you should do another round of more in-depth tests. This could be through the limited release of a software product for a small group of beta testers or UX tools to track how users interact with the software.
This stage may be dull, but it is still an integral part of software development. If you do not test and fix the flaws properly, you may lose your customer. Worst of all, finally, you have to correct them and deliver the modified software to the customer with apologies. So it is better not to skip this step of SDLC and do it very carefully.
With the completion of the heavy coding and software testing phase, now is the time to deploy it to all users. At this stage, the software source code exits the development and testing phases and enters the consumption phase.
Most teams and companies do this using a Continuous Deployment model or the Application Release Automation tool (ARA).
Maintenance and updates in SDLC
The software life cycle does not end with the release of the software. As the name implies, it is a ‘cycle-‘ end of each stage is the beginning of the new one.
Customer needs are constantly evolving. Users will start using the software and will undoubtedly find bugs or new requests after a while.
All of these requests should be submitted to the product support department and prioritized. All of these changes become part of your Product Roadmap.
SOJECT makes your custom software projects
SOJECT is a successful custom software development company in the field of production and development of various software. Our specialized team produces and puts our customers’ orders into consideration, taking into account software development principles and the software development life cycle.
SOJECT serves its customers by developing software, fixing problems and adding various software production capabilities.
Contact us for more information.