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Innowise Group is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1400+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.
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Innowise Group is an international full-cycle software development company founded in 2007. We are a team of 1400+ IT professionals developing software for other professionals worldwide.

All you should know about SDLC: phases, benefits & more

Software development approaches changed over time so did the practices and methods that help developers make the whole process efficient and cost-effective. Nowadays, most companies regardless of their size and tasks use a so-called SDLC approach, which allows them to properly allocate their resources to achieve the desired results. This article explains what the software development life cycle is and covers the major steps of the process.

What is the software development life cycle?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) refers to a methodology with clearly defined processes for creating high-quality software. A key goal of the SDLC is to produce robust software within a specified budget and timeframe. Essentially, the SDLC outlines a detailed plan with stages that each comprises its own process and deliverables. In comparison to alternative methods of production, SDLC speeds up project development and minimizes costs.

Seven phases of the SDLC

A modern SDLC consists of seven primary stages, although these steps can be divided into smaller units. For example, planning might be subdivided into technical analysis, marketing research, etc. Other stages can merge with one another. Tests can run concurrently with development since developers must fix errors discovered during testing.

Planning

The first step the development team should do before they even engage in writing the code is to collect all functional requirements to assess the scope of work and project cost. As part of this process, labor and material costs are calculated, a timetable is developed with goals, and teams and leadership structures are created for the project.

This stage helps to outline the team’s course of action and provide the tools and resources they need to effectively develop the software. Additionally, it helps prevent the project from expanding or diverging from its original goals.

Requirements analysis

This is a very important step when all the requirements should be defined. By the end of this phase, the team clearly understands what the software is meant to do and what features should be included. In addition, this SDLC stage is critical as it allows developers to find out more about all possible roadblocks that the project may face along the way.

Once the requirements are understood, an SRS (Software Requirement Specification) document is created. It is important that both developers follow the guidelines in this document and the customer reviews it for future reference.

Design and Prototyping

Design and architecture are crucial when it comes to the software development process regardless of the size of the future software. Most SDLC methodologies attach great importance to this particular phase as it defines what the app will look like and how secure it will be for end users. During this stage, the team brainstorms the following aspects:

  • The user interface of the future application;
  • Programming language, libraries, and frameworks that will be used during the coding stage;
  • Security measures to protect user data;
  • The platform that will host the software/application.
SDLC phases,

Development

This is when the development process actually begins. It is possible to write a small project by a couple of developers, but a complex project may require the involvement of several teams.

In addition to coding, there are many other tasks involved. It is crucial to find and fix errors and glitches. Some tasks like test results or compiling code to run an application slow down the development process. The SDLC can anticipate these delays, allowing development teams to focus on other tasks.

Testing

No software leaves the lab without being thoroughly tested. The testing activities are usually included in all stages of the modern SDLC models, so this stage is usually a subset. However, this phase only relates to the product’s testing step, during which bugs are discovered, reported, fixed, and retested until the product meets the SRS’s quality criteria.

Deployment

It is now time to deploy the software into production so that users can begin using it. Many companies, however, move the software through different deployment environments, such as staging or testing. In this way, stakeholders can safely test out the product before it is released to the market. It also allows identifying final bugs before a product is released.

Maintenance and support

The development cycle is almost complete at this point. The application has been completed and is now in use. However, maintenance and support still play an important role. Users may find bugs at these stages that weren’t discovered during testing. Resolving these errors can create new development cycles.

Besides bug fixes, models like iterative development plan additional features for future releases. There can be a new development cycle launched for each new release.

Why SDLC is important

The software development life cycle adds value to the software development process in many ways. In particular, teams can benefit from the following advantages:

  • Setting goals can help identify problems. It is very easy to become overwhelmed by the complexity of a software development project. The SDLC allows visualizing goals, tasks, and emerging issues at every stage of the process.
  • Design clarity is significant. A step-by-step plan prevents developers from jumping to other activities before they finish those in the previous stage. Not only will project managers be able to maintain better control, but they will also prevent overlapping responsibilities.
  • The end product is thoroughly tested. Following a software development life cycle includes all of the essential checks to ensure that the software is thoroughly tested before final deployment.
  • Losing a team member won’t harm the project. Documentation recorded during every phase of the project is available for every new developer who joins the development team.
  • Ensure the project is moving in the right direction. Building a supposedly technologically advanced product without guidance puts you at risk of not meeting end-user expectations.
  • Whenever the development team encounters a roadblock, it can follow the same loop until it eventually succeeds. A more complex software development project requires flexibility to move from one stage to the next or to provide feedback to the previous.
  • Process streamlining. Using the SDLC model also gives you the option of customizing the steps according to the project’s needs in the future. You can eliminate or replace steps that don’t contribute to efficiency and success.
software development life cycle

Best practices of software development

Before we put a full stop to this article, there are some best practices of software development that may be useful to you. The most popular approaches include:

Source control

By following this approach teams host all code in a single location in order to prevent leakages. This can be both physical and virtual cloud hosting facilities where team members can log in and work on the project in a secured encrypted cloud environment.

Continuous integration

This approach allows the development team to ensure all the components of the asset are compatible throughout the development life cycle. As for continuous integration, it ensures that all team members use similar programming languages, frameworks, and libraries to avoid conflicts and duplicates.

SDLC management system

The whole software development life cycle becomes even more effective with more transparency added to each phase of it. For this purpose, the team adds various management systems to each stage of the SDLC in order to reveal its weaknesses and make the whole process even more effective.

Final words

Innowise Group uses all the benefits and best practices of this approach, which allows us to have better management control over the entire development process. Moreover, SDLC brings clarity of requirements and single vision of the product by all the involved parties, which, in turn, saves time and effort during development, testing and deployment stages. With software development life cycle we have more predictable results in terms of time and deliverables.

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