The world of IT is boosted with abbreviations. Today, let’s talk about one such abbreviation that stands for the software development lifecycle — SDLC meaning the process of managing a project from conception to retirement. The SDLC is a systematic approach to software development that includes the stages of planning, development, testing, and maintenance.
The lifecycle of software development is as complex and varied as the products themselves. Whether you’re building an app for a business or creating a new piece of hardware, your project will have its own unique set of SDLC phases that are defined by both the capabilities of your team and the obstacles you face in getting started.
In this article, we’ll go over the various stages of SDLC, including what they mean and why they matter. We will also explain the software development life cycle in detail.
System Development Life Cycle Importance
Now you know what is SDLC. But why you should pay attention to it? The system development life cycle provides a roadmap for your organization to stay on track as it launches and plans to execute new software or systems.
It is an organized visual representation of the software development process. It is used to define the stages and steps involved in the development of software applications, websites, and other digital products.
SDLC describes each stage in a project, analyzes its risks, and points out opportunities. It also provides guidelines for improving productivity and quality while minimizing costs. Overall, it makes the whole engineering process more efficient.
SDLC Phases Explanation
Remember that SDLC stands for software development lifecycle? As with any lifecycle, it has its development stages.
In the course of different phases of the system development life cycle, multiple activities are performed by a team to achieve goals and outcomes until the process is finished, and the team moves on to the next stage. The goal of each stage is to create a product that meets or exceeds customer needs in terms of quality, usability, and performance.
At each step, you’ll be given tasks such as:
- to write user stories for your requirements,
- to create prototypes so you can test them,
- to create code that makes sure everything works properly together,
- to deploy your application into a production environment where users will see it live!
So, what are the 5 stages of SDLC? Let’s take a closer look at each phase.
The first step in software development is gathering requirements from various stakeholders such as clients, users, managers, etc. At Stfalcon we call it a discovery phase and use this initial step to get an in-depth understanding of the industry, our client’s business, and the product’s target audience.
The development team then uses the requirements to create a series of documents and schemes for future effective work on the project.
This involves keeping all aspects related to your project in mind, including user experience (UX), technical feasibility, and budget constraints. The goal of this phase is to create an initial design document that includes all these things together with their corresponding tasks/deliverables like wireframes or mockups.
In this stage, developers create code for the software project based on specifications from SDLC stages 1 and 2. You are to include everything needed for testing purposes before deployment. So that later there won’t be any issues regarding performance issues due to the lack of resources required during the implementation phase itself. So make sure everyone involved knows exactly what needs to be done before starting work on those parts of the project.
Developers also test their work to make sure it meets expectations before handing it over to QA testers to perform additional testing.
At this stage, QA testers perform extensive testing of software applications and systems to ensure they meet customer needs. This is where you check all requirements, fix any bugs that were found during testing, and make sure everything works smoothly.
Ensure that everything works as per expectations once deployed into the production environment.
The release phase is the last one before the client receives the product. This is where all the customer’s specifications are met, including quality and functionality. In this stage, you will receive feedback from your client about the release and fix any issues that were found. This is where we move on to the net stage.
Besides the described 5 phases of SDLC, we’d like to talk about another one. This phase involves regularly updating your software products with bug fixes and new features so that they remain current and relevant to customers’ needs over time.
This is an essential part of managing any project because it ensures that you can offer ongoing support for your customers even long after your initial release date has passed.
SDLC Methodologies That Are Frequently Used
There are many different SDLC methodologies that you can use. Some are more popular than others but they all have their pros and cons. Let’s see which ones are the most common.
One of the most popular software development lifecycle models is Agile. The three-level Agile SDLC is a philosophy and set of principles that provide a framework for building software products and services. It is a software development method that encourages the use of short cycles and frequent feedback.
Agile developers prefer working in more flexible environments where collaboration is encouraged across teams rather than working in isolation.
In other words, Agile emphasizes flexibility to achieve success more quickly and efficiently than traditional approaches like Waterfall or iterative development can do. Agile methods are commonly used by organizations looking to embrace change, improve productivity and reduce costs.
An Agile approach to development can be very beneficial for any organization or team looking to improve its processes. Here are just a few benefits of using an Agile approach:
- Improved communication between developers and business users;
- Increased collaboration among teams;
- Improved quality assurance;
- Reduced costs;
- Faster time to market;
- More efficient use of resources.
Waterfall is one of the models of the software development life cycle that follows a step-by-step process. It’s all about planning so that you never have any surprises along the way. The definition of this model was first introduced by Robert Martin in his book Agile Software Development: Principles, Patterns, and Practices. He described it as follows:
“In the waterfall model, requirements are gathered up front, detailed design happens at the end, and then coding begins.”
It is a sequential process where requirements are collected, analyzed, and then implemented with activities occurring in a predefined order. The main advantage of the Waterfall model is that it provides a clear roadmap for the project management team to follow while implementing the project.
This model has been criticized for being too rigid and inflexible. However, there are still many organizations that use this approach because they believe it provides them with more control over their projects.
The advantages are:
- It’s a clear road map for project managers;
- It’s easy to understand;
- It provides a structured approach to managing projects;
- It allows for better coordination within the team.
Iterative in slang is also known as the incremental model. Iterative development is a project management process that emphasizes working in stages or iterations. Iterative life cycle models are based on the idea that the best solutions come from small incremental changes made throughout the life cycle of the product.
It is a software development methodology that involves the repeated application of small changes to an existing system, as opposed to doing big changes over and over again. Each iteration may take from one week to one month. And can be done synchronously. The goal of each iteration is to develop and test a portion of the software.
The iterations are typically scheduled in advance, but they may also be arranged as needed by a business or technical needs.
Iterative development is a good approach for projects that have many unknowns and risks because it allows you to build in stages and identify issues as they arise. This approach is best suited for smaller projects because it allows you to test new features without having to wait until the whole thing is finished. You can also make changes to existing code during this phase.
- Smaller scope;
- A better understanding of requirements;
- Easier testing;
- Possibility to fix bugs early on;
- Implementation with little overhead.
Spiral development is very similar to iterative development. However, instead of making small changes in an existing product, spiral development involves building new products from scratch using an iterative approach. It has a series of steps that circularly follow one another.
These software life cycle models are based on the idea of continuous improvement. It involves a series of steps that are repeated until the desired result is achieved. Spiral SDLC models are often used when developing large-scale systems. They also work well when dealing with complex problems.
The main benefits of this model are:
- It allows for constant refinement and iteration;
- Ensures that the system will meet user needs;
- Allows for constant refinement;
- Helps to avoid getting stuck in one particular phase of the project.
The V-shaped lifecycle models use a series of phases that follow an upward flow to form a V shape. On the horizontal axis is the time or project completeness (from least to most complete), and on the vertical axis is the abstractions (from the coarsest grain to the finest grain).
The V-model consists of five stages: Vision, Design, Implementation, Verification, and Maintenance. Each stage is broken down into smaller tasks which are completed sequentially.
- The model ensures that the right people are involved throughout the entire lifecycle;
- It makes it easier to track progress;
- It is easier to manage scope;
- It allows for better prioritization.
How to Choose the Right SDLC Methodology for Your Project
It is not enough to know what is software development life cycle is. It is also necessary to choose the right SDLC methodology. There are many different methodologies you can search on the Internet, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
We have already reviewed some of them above. Now let’s look at how to choose the right one for your project.
First, think about the size of the project. Do you need to develop a small-scale solution? Or would you rather work on a large-scale application? If you’re working on a small-scale project, then you may want to consider using Scrum. Scrum is a framework that helps you break down complex problems into manageable chunks. You’ll also find that it will help you stay focused on delivering value to your customers in optimum conditions.
If you’re developing a larger-scale application, then you should probably opt for something else. A good example of such a methodology is Extreme Programming (XP). XP is based on the idea that the best way to build software is to start with a clean slate. So instead of starting with a big pile of requirements, you start with a blank canvas and create everything from scratch.
The spiral method is also a good choice for big projects. The iterative methodology is often used for small solutions.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a methodology is whether you want to focus on quality or speed. In general, Agile methods emphasize fast delivery and continuous improvement. This means that you can make changes as soon as possible without having to worry about breaking things.
On the other hand, if you prefer to focus on quality, you might go with a traditional approach like Waterfall. Here, you’ll have a fixed schedule and a set of clearly defined deliverables. Keeping this in mind, you can decide what SDLC method is the best suitable for your project.
SDLC Tools We Use
To help you get started, here’s a list of SDLC tooling that we use.
Workflow Management Tools
- JIRA. It is an issue-tracking system designed specifically for agile teams. It allows you to track bugs, issues, stories, tasks, and more.
- Redmine. It’s a flexible open-source web app for project management that is cross-platform and cross-database.
- ResourceGuru. It’s a tool for resource scheduling that facilitates a quick and flexible way to assign tasks, distribute work between team members and keep a project on track.
Continuous Integration Tools
- GitLab CI service. Being a part of GitLab it builds and tests software solutions whenever the developer pushes code to the application. The service provides automation, pipeline config management, and security, as well as artifact storage in a single set of features.
- Kubernetes. This is one more open-source system we use for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized apps.
- Firebase AppDistribution. It’s a free service that allows developers to distribute the installer of the apps to groups of testers using the Firebase console. It provides a holistic view of the beta testing program across iOS and Android, providing app feedback before a new release.
- Testify. Testify is a solution that helps to design, control, document and analyze mobile QM processes. It facilitates effective quality process optimization, gaining insights into previously unknown process data and product quality sustainable improvement.
Version Control System
GIT — GIT abbreviation stands for “Global Information Tracker”. It is a version control system that supports distributed development. It works by storing all of your code in a central repository. Then, whenever someone makes changes, they push their updates to the repository so everyone else can see what they’ve done. GIT provides a simple interface for sharing code between developers.
Version Control Services
- GitLab. This is an open-source end-to-end development platform. It offers built-in version control, code review, issue tracking, and more.
- GitHub — GitHub is a web-based version control service that makes it easy to store source code online.
- Bitbucket — Bitbucket is another cloud-based version control service. It offers unlimited private repositories and free public repositories.
So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a project and wondering what the heck to do next, don’t worry! There are plenty of tools and methods out there to help you get through any stage of your development process.
Remember: a successful software development project requires careful planning and attention to detail, that’s what we stand on in Stfalcon. If you don’t follow these software development process steps, you may find yourself wasting time and money on projects that never get off the ground. To ensure that you get the best results, you need to think through every aspect of the project, and even better is to trust professionals. Contact us for your project’s detailed discussion, and together we will be able to create a great app without having to worry about the challenges involved in developing it.