The Software Development Lifecycle – or SDLC – is a process used in building software that aims to guarantee the quality and correctness of the software built for the customer. Because the development of the system must be completed within the predefined time and cost and SDLC consists of a detailed plan that explains how to plan, build and maintain specific software, the SDLC process aims to produce high-quality software.
Each phase of the SDLC has its own process and results. There are also several models of SDLC, probably one that fits with your team. This methodology is also known as the Application Development lifecycle.
There a ton of reasons to use SDLC as your method of building software, some of them include:
- Rely on a full project planning, scheduling, and estimating process of building a software
- Work and organize the production based on a standard set of activities and deliverables
- Track and control tasks and microtasks of SDLC phases
- Improve transparency and stakeholders access to information about software building
- Accelerate software development process
- Improve customer relation and experience
- Reduce risks and project management plan overhead
If you choose Software Development LifeCycle to support you during the process of building a high-performance team and need to know everything about this, keep reading this page!
What are the phases of SDLC?
Software Development LifeCycle is a model composed of seven phases: Requirement Analysis, Feasibility Study, Design, Coding, Testing, Install Deploy and Maintenance.
Each stage serves to guide and provide flexibility to adapt and perform the project according to the customer’s objective.
Because of it, the phases appoint key schedule and delivery tasks to guarantee the quality of the software and ensure that the deadline will be met. In this way, SDLC allows you to manage all the activities in an agile and accurate way.
Phase 1: Requirement collection and analysis
This first phase of Software Development LifeCycle is an overview and directives of the project/software.
All stakeholders, including customers, salespeople, industry experts, programmers, Business Analysts, and Project Managers must meet to gather all necessary information about what will be built. Remember: being precise while describing requirements, the more detailed it is, the better.
Checklist of essential information for requirement meeting:
- User profile and how s/he behaves using your solution
- Feedback, surveys, interviews, questionnaires, quizzes, and more.
- Product scope and purpose (problems that your software should solve)
- A list of all risks involved
- Planning timelines and calendars
- Strengths and weaknesses of the current system with improvement as the goal
- Cost and resources required for implementation and release
- Project’s teams and leadership structure.
After the briefing discussed in the kick-off meeting, it’s recommended to use a SRS (Software Requirements Specification) document to guide the software development process.
The SRS is a document to describe all product’s features and to concentrate all the main information of the project.
Phase 2: Feasibility study
A feasibility study is a clear picture of the project. This stage of SDLC is one of the most important and sometimes can be run simultaneously on the first step. It’s important that all stakeholders know exactly all the economic, technical, legal, and scheduling context of this project because this can change the project’s scope or demonstrate if the software is going to work or not.
That’s why analysis as a feasibility study plays a relevant role in the Software Development Lifecycle. During your Feasibility Study, consider include information such as:
- Product or service description
- Accounting statements
- Operation and management details
- Marketing research and policies
- Financial data and tax obligations
- Legal requirements
- Project implementation plan
- Time and budget available
There 4 types of Feasibility studies: technical, economic, legal, operational, and scheduling.
- Technical Feasibility – this study purpose an outline design of system requirements, to determine whether the company has the technical expertise to handle the completion of the project. So the study must check tools, equipment, and skills needed for the project, as well as hardware and software evaluation, availability of inputs, efficiency factors, and others.
- Economic Feasibility – this study supports stakeholders to know if the required software is sustainable financially for the company. So, in this analysis, it’s mandatory to gather information about costs involved in hiring engineering and product teams, hardware and software expenses.
- Legal Feasibility – this study checks if there is any system conflict with legal and ethical requirements, such as local data protection regulation, project certificate, license, copyright, etc.
- Operational Feasibility – this analysis is focused on discovering how the product will work, how easy it will be to the final user and how developers will operate maintenance after deployment. Along with this other operational scopes are determining the usability of the product, determining suggested solutions by the software development team is acceptable or not, etc.
- Scheduling Feasibility – It must measure mainly timelines/deadlines to take up to its completion. Considering your technical expertise, are the project deadlines reasonable? Some projects are initiated with specific deadlines. It is necessary to determine whether the deadlines are mandatory or desirable.
Phase 3: Design
Time to design! At this stage of SDLC, the team will produce the Design Document Specification (DDS) based on the user requirements and the detailed analysis made in the previous phase.
The DDS document defines the overall system architecture and describes all the information for developers to start working on the product, such as features, input, output, databases, forms, codification schemes, processing specifications, and time expected to deliver the product.
The most common design documents used in this phase are High-Level Design (HLD) and Low-Level Design(LLD).
- The High-Level Design (HLD) is a brief description of the functionality of each module and how it will work the interface relationship and dependencies between modules. Also includes the database tables identified along with their key elements and the architecture diagrams along with technical details.
- The Low-Level Design(LLD) is a document that describes the functional logic of the modules, database tables (type and size), details of the interface, types of dependency issues, list of error messages, and inputs and outputs for every module.
In both types of documents, it will be beneficial to specify details about how the architecture must be built in terms of programming language, templates or boilerplates and so on), how the communication between the application with other assets, and how customers must interact with the user interface of the software.
Also, it’ll be important to define the platform or device on which the software will run (Mobile, Apps, Desktops, Gaming consoles, for example) and programming details as methods of solving problems, performing tasks in the application and security details such as SSL traffic encryption, password protection and secure storage of user credentials.
After that, start the prototyping phase which will demonstrate a basic idea of how the application looks and works. This prototype will be shown to stakeholders in order to collect feedback to improve the product before the coding phase.
Phase 4: Coding
The next phase of your SDLC is Coding which also is the longest one. Following predefined design documents (DDS) and coding guidelines, developers start to translate it into source code and programming language. All the components of the software are implemented in this phase.
To be more efficient tasks are divided into units or modules and assigned to the various developers, in distributed teams, according to their skills.
During this phase, it will be a very useful document for all the process, including troubleshooting guides, FAQs or just commenting in the source code to understand why a certain procedure has been used.
In this phase, developers also need to use Access Control or Source Code Management applications or programming tools like compiler, interpreters, debugger to generate and implement the code. These tools help developers track changes to the code and ensure compatibility between different team projects and to make sure target goals are being met.
In addition to the tools, the quality of coding depends on the accuracy of the communication between all stakeholders, such as QA (quality assurance), testers, DevOps, product and project managers.
Phase 5: Testing
The next phase of SDLC is Testing the product developed. Research has shown that the test process frequently accounts for 40% of the cost of software development. With the growing requirement for high quality and efficiency, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to improve their software testing.
The primary function of software testing is to detect bugs in order to uncover and detect it. The scope of software testing includes the execution of that code in various environments and also examining the aspects of the code.
QA testers perform the most important role in this phase comparing software functions working and requirements established in the preceding steps. Also, the QA testers are responsible for finding and reporting bugs and errors to developers and product team revision. Additionally, the QA testers can suggest and identify improvement opportunities in security or automation to lead the project to higher user satisfaction and a better usage rate.
Software metrics help in avoiding pitfalls such as:
- Cost overruns
- In identifying where the problem has raised
- Clarifying goals It answers questions such as:
- What is the estimation of each process activity?
- What is the quality of the code that has been developed?
- How can the underdeveloped code be improved?
Phase 6: Installation/Deployment
The installation and deployment phase is focused on observing how the market reacts to your product. Time to release the final software version after the tests!
During the preparation and procedures to the installation phase, the team establishes an operating procedure to organize how the software should work in the information technology environment and provide a mitigation plan to support end-user repair of the issue.
After that, the project team implements the programming and coding to each system location. This phase includes pushing the program and coding to each regional site and each computer system.
Once your team deploys the application and delivers it to the users, be aware of feedback and check for deployment issues and what needs to be improved, according to customer expectation.
During the Deployment phase, don’t forget to identify key staff and functions involved such as migrations and software updates and configuring access permissions and roles and try to limit the impact of any initial setup problems using pilot-projects.
Phase 7: Maintenance
The maintenance phase involves bug fixing, upgrading the application to the newer versions of the software, and enhance it by adding some new specifications mentioned in the first phase. At this point, the development cycle is finished.
What are the most common models of SDLC?
There are several models in SDLC, which are:
Waterfall development model
A classic model divided into various phases and the outcome of one phase acts as the input for the next one. The main advantage of the Waterfall model is the possibility to evaluate the development product in each phase before moving on. On the other hand, it’s limited in speed, since one phase must finish before another can begin.
Incremental development Model
Quite similar to the waterfall model, but divided the project into small chunks (product builds, known as iterations) and gathering features gradually in order to achieve user requirements. The main difference is that changes can be made during the development cycles, so is faster to implement and deploy improvements.
In this model, Instead of moving down in a linear way, the process steps are bent upwards after the coding phase, to form the typical V shape. The V-Model demonstrates the relationships between each phase of the development life cycle and its associated phase of testing.
Agile Development Model
In this model, user experience is the main focus and makes the software teams interact faster to customer feedback and run all the cycles quickly to respond to a changing market. That’s why this model produces a succession of releases and phases from one to three weeks of duration.
Spiral Development Model
The spiral model is a risk-driven process model based on adopting the best features of the prototyping model and the waterfall model. Then, the method mixes rapid prototyping and speed in design and development while highlighting repetition of planning, design, build and test phases.
Big bang model
Mostly used by smaller teams, this simple method consists of implementing requirements as they appear in the project. The benefit does not require much planning or scheduling or even formal testing phases.
What are the benefits of SDLC?
The main benefit of SDLC is predictability. You can plan and execute exactly everything in the development process. Software Development LifeCycle gives you the opportunity to scale view the entire process and management of your project. Most benefits of SDLC are:
- Allows to have a clear plan for accomplishing a business goal, also costs and resources are always on the table
- Delivery products and software with high level and quality because of testing and user experience focus
- Improve communication in the team because of the phase methodology
- Reduce time spending and increase money return
- Minimize the risk potential during any given development project.
SDLC is a methodology really interesting for those who want to improve the software development processes and scale product management. Also is your chance to test distributed teams working together and explore their skills in each phase of the project.
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