Normally, the process in software development is tedious and long. Nevertheless, the life cycles could be leveraged by systems analysts and project managers to outline, design, create, test, and deploy software solutions as well as information systems more regularly, more effectively, and with higher quality.
The software development life cycle defines various stages necessary to bring a project from idea to conception all the way to deployment and later on to maintenance. There are several phases in the development life cycle. Let’s find out.
Software Development Life Cycle Phases
1. Analysis and Planning
The first SDLC phase included a couple of parts, which are the planning stage in which software outsourcing companies gather requirements from stakeholders or client and the analysis stage wherein you look into the feasibility of building the product, potential for revenue, production cost, user needs, and so on.
A feature prioritization framework could be used to decide what to make in a proper way. This takes into consideration the software/update value, the time and the cost to build, as well as other factors. When it’s decided that the software is in line with the goals of the business, feasible to build, and address the needs of the target users, you could then proceed to the next phase.
Most important of all, the planning phase sets the schedule, which is key if the development is for a commercial solution that should be sent to the market in a specific date.
The design stage is putting pen to paper. The original vision and plan are elaborated in a basic software structure, which include design, programming language, templates, platform, and security measures. Also, the design phase is where you could flowchart how the software will respond to the user actions.
Usually, the design stage includes crafting a prototype. Building a pre-production version of the solution could provide the development team an opportunity to visualize what the product will look like and perform changes without having to rewrite code, which could be a hassle.
3. Development Stage
This stage is the actual development of the specifications of the product as well as the business requirements into code to build it. This phase could take time, thus having a set timeline and milestones is important to that software developers could understand expectations and keep track of the progress.
In some instances, the development phase could merge with the testing phase as well, wherein there are some tests that will be run to ensure that there are no harmful bugs. Software developers adheres to the company’s defined coding guidelines and use different tools, like debuggers, compilers, as well as interpreters.
Programming languages could include staples, such as PHP, C++, and so on. Furthermore, software developers will choose the right code to use based on the requirements and specifications of the project.
4. Testing Phase
Before getting the software out the door, having a quality assurance team to test it is vital. The QA team makes sure that the software product if functioning properly and does what it is meant to do. This phase could help hash out any major experience problems and security concerns as well.
There are also instances where software testing is performed in a simulated environment. Furthermore, other simpler tests could also be automated. Developers during this stage go over the product with a fine-tooth comb, keeping tabs of any defects or tabs that should be tracked, fixed, and retested later.
As stated by Saigon Technology, making sure that the software overall meets the quality standards is an absolute must. Depending on the software complexity, skill of developers, and end-user requirements, testing could be very short or could take longer. The following are the types of testing to be done:
- Performance testing
- Functional testing
- Unit testing
- Usability testing
5. Deployment Phase
After deployment, the software product is delivered to the intended user. The process could be automated and deployment is scheduled depending on the type. For instance, if you’re deploying a feature update, this could be done with a small number of users.
Most organizations deploy new software to a limited number of users about 10 to 15 percent. Slowly it will deploy to the rest of the customer base. Gradual introduction means limiting the impact on the UX should there be an issue that’s overlooked.
6. Maintenance Phase
The final phase in the software development life cycle is the maintenance if you adhered to the waterfall software development structure. The industry, however, is moving towards a more agile development approach in which maintenance is just a phase for more product enhancement.
During this phase, users could find errors and bugs that were not discovered in the earlier testing phase. These bugs should be fixed for better retention and user experience. In some instance, these could lead to going back to the first software development life cycle step.
Now more than ever, companies are pressured to deliver high-quality products in a short amount of time. Thus, developing a software solution with a pre-defined software development life cycle is important.
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