What Does the Software Development Lifecycle Entail?

The software or systems development life cycle (SDLC) describes the steps involved in developing new software. The desired end-result is software that functions effectively and that is developed within projected timeframes and budgets. That’s certainly the short version, but having a basic understanding of the software dev lifecycle means taking a closer look at the different lifecycle stages a new type of software must pass through before you can expect results.

1. Planning and Analysing Requirements

It makes sense that software can’t be developed unless those responsible for the task know exactly what it is meant to do and how it will be put to work. At this stage of the life cycle, various departments within the business contribute information that will help developers to determine the feasibility of a project. It’s also the phase during which they build quality assurance into the process and work to identify and minimise any risks.

2. Definition of Requirements

The following step in the software development life cycle is the production of a software requirement specification (SRS) that lists all the requirements the new software will be designed to fulfil. This serves as the basic blueprint for functionality that will be designed and developed.

3. Design of Product Architecture

Using the requirements defined in the SRS, developers propose various possible product architectures that will yield the intended results and capture them in a design document specification or DDS. Stakeholders assess these options, selecting the approach they wish to see implemented during product development. Criteria such as cost, time required, cybersecurity, and the robustness of the system are considered in choosing product architecture.

4. Developing the Product

Having determined the architecture to be implemented, developers can start coding and developing the product itself. With experienced developers, and with the aid of various programming tools, this step is ordinarily not an overly lengthy one. However, the software development life cycle  doesn’t end with development.

5. Testing the Software

Testing occurs throughout the development process. However, at this stage of the SDLC, only testing takes place. If there are any defects, they will be identified, addressed, and retested until the developers are satisfied that the software meets the predefined quality standards and requirements previously decided on.

6. Deployment and Maintenance

The software product is ready for use, but may require further finetuning. Although the product may be released to the wider user market, many businesses prefer to test it on a limited segment that will use the software in its intended environment. Based on feedback, adjustments may be made, or the product may be rolled out to the wider market immediately. Following its release, routine maintenance occurs. 

A Six-Step Process That Ensures the Desired Results

In this overview, we have looked at the six steps in the software design lifecycle very fleetingly. It’s a basic introduction rather than an in-depth analysis. However, if you were to task developers with software design, it represents the process that would follow on your decision and shows how adhering to it should lead to the fulfilment of your specifications. Although it may seem time-consuming, especially during the first three steps of the lifecycle, it’s the surest route to the achievement of your software development goals.