Software Development Life Cycle – Introduction Model Stages and Advantages

What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is essentially the process or phases of a model or methodology, which software engineers and developers follow in developing an application or software. In simpler words, it is a process consisting of a series of planned activities for planning, creating, testing, deploying and maintenance of software.

SDLC is often referred as software development process, as it consists of all tasks, which needs to be followed while developing an application or software. SDLC is followed within IT development companies to develop, alter, replace or enhance the performance of the software. ISO/IEC 12207 is an international standard for SDLC, which ensures high quality of the newly developed software. It also helps IT development companies in improving the overall quality of their software development services.

What are the major SDLC Models, followed in the IT Industry?

There are various SDLS models, which are currently followed in the IT Industry. Often referred as ‘Software Development Process Models’, all the process models follow unique software development steps, ensuring 100% success of the development projects.

The major software development life cycle models are-

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

Other related models are Rapid Application Development (RAD), Prototype and Agile Models.

The advantages of choosing an appropriate Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)-

  • Increased Product Quality
  • Increased Development Speed
  • Improved Client Relations
  • Improved Tracking & Control
  • Decreased Project Risks
  • Decreased Project Management Overhead

What are the different stages of SDLC?

Stage 1:

Planning and Requirement Analysis

This is the most important stage in the SDLC. This stage needs input from the customers, sales team, industry experts, a marketing team and their survey reports. After which, senior business managers and developers of a software development company plan the project approach and the development model.

Stage 2:

Designing

After the analysis of requirements and finalizing the Design Document Specification (DDS), the product architecture is designed by an expert team. This architecture has to stand upon various parameters such as budget, time, product robustness, risk assessment and design modularity, after which it is considered for the development.

Stage 3:

Development

The actual development of the software or application starts at this stage. The team of engineers and developers follow the coding guidelines set by the organization and use different tools for code generation. The programming code is generated as per the details documented in the DDS. The developers use different high level programming languages as per the requirement.

Stage 4:

Testing

In this stage, the final product goes through a pre-defined road of testing, where defects or bugs in the product are reported and then fixed by the developers. This stage ensures that the final product meets the highest quality standards, which are accepted worldwide.

Stage 5:

Deployment

At this stage, the final product is deployed at the client base. At times, the software is integrated with the client’s current application and database. All the deployment and integration works are done under the guidance of expert software engineers and developers.

Stage 6:

Maintenance & Support

Most of the reputed IT development companies also provide complete maintenance and technical support, post deployment of the final product at client base.

The Basic Methodology of Software Development Services

Software development is a technically complex process which goes through various stages during the whole development procedure. The concept is termed as software (S/W) development life cycle (SDLC) and involves various stages of (S/W) development. To successfully offer software development services, organizations should define a development methodology that suits the requirements of the project. Different projects may require different methodologies therefore software development service providers must evaluate the project requirements first and then formulate the strategy for the software development life cycle.

Most of the software development service providers have a pre-defined methodology that is implemented while developing a software. The process gets a little modified according to the project requirements but the essence of the project development procedure remains the same. The basic stages of software development are as mentioned below:

Requirements Specifications: The first and foremost step while developing software must be gathering the requirements of the project. The organizations must start with analyzing the feasibility and the requirements of the project. Some questions that must be clarified in this phase are:

What are client’s expectations of the project?

What would the user want in the software?

Is the project technically feasible or not?

The above questions, along with many more, must be answered and properly justified before software development service providers move any further.

Design: This stage involves development of an outlay for developing the project with all the little details included. The project requirements are evaluated and an implementation strategy for achieving these requirements in the form of a software is formulated. The designing phase is divided into two categories i.e. system design and component design. The system design is design of the software as a whole where questions like how the individual components will interact with each other are answered. The component design phase, as the name suggests, deals with the planning for each individual component.

Implementation: The components are actually created in the implementation phase. The design layout created in the previous phase is implemented and converted into a machine language that the computer can understand and respond to. Programming languages such as C, C++, C#, Asp.Net, PHP etc are used according to the project requirement to achieve the best possible results. The source code and database are created in the implementation phase. Accurate and effective designing of the software is essential for a successful implementation of the software.

Testing: The testing phase usually starts after the components are created but in some cases the software development service provider can start the testing along with the implementation phase. This methodology may require a little more effort and time but the end solution is void of any discrepancies or errors as they are detected and removed as soon as a component is developed.

Installation: The components of the software are combined together and the completed software is installed and executed on a computer system. If all the previous phases have been performed expertly then there will be no problem in the installation phase. A thorough testing is again recommended after installing the software to make sure that the end solution is working as desired.

Maintenance: It has been noticed that almost every software goes through changes and modification after it is completed. This may be due to some new requirements, overlooked features or the change in the business strategy. This requires constant evaluation and maintenance of the software.

Most of the software (S/W) development service providers follow the above described development methodology for creating softwares. It is the basic methodology of S/W development services. Once the software is completed and delivered successfully, the task of the service provider does not end. A professional S/W development company will offer maintenance services to insure a smooth and well functioning solution to their clients.