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Software Development Life Cycle: Phases, Process, Models and Methodologies


9 min read

Software products make users’ lives more comfortable. They save lots of our resources like time and effort. At the same time, software product development life cycle phases are commonly time-sapping and painstaking. Moreover, software engineers have to make certain the solution they deliver is efficient, user-friendly, and upscale. To accomplish that, accurate and profound planning is expected, and a full software life cycle development process is an excellent tool for that purpose.

Briefly speaking, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), is a series of actions in app development. It’s meant to break the software development process into feasible assignments that can be classified, distributed, and successfully fulfilled. This is a typical example of software development life cycle model for the overwhelming majority of software development companies in the USA, UK, and other developed countries.

Besides, there are SDLC models or methodologies that enable software experts to productively organize and follow a software development process bit by bit, making it as predictable as possible. Among software development life cycle models and methodologies are well-known DevOps and Agile, used by respectively 36% and 31% of respondents. Choosing the proper model for a project is pivotal for successful custom software development. By the way, no matter which model you pick, the stages of software development life cycles remain the same.

So, ready to find out how SDLC works in more detail? DashDevs have prepared a guide for you on the concept, its steps, and most common models. Go on with your reading to learn how to develop software faster and more efficiently, decreasing costs and increasing customer satisfaction and what are the 7 steps of the software development life cycle.

What Is The Software Development Life Cycle?

Every company specializing in producing software needs a strategy to make certain they complete a project successfully. That’s where the life cycle of software development process comes in. Simply put, SDLC is a plan that describes the actions required for software development. To explain different phases of software development life cycle in detail:

  • it intends to deliver a high-quality system that satisfies or even surpasses clients’ expectations;
  • it functions effectively and efficiently in the modern IT infrastructure;
  • it’s relatively low-priced to maintain;
  • it defines the general steps taken to build software;
  • it outlines responsibilities for each team expert.

We consider 7 stages of software development life cycle.

Why is the software development life cycle important?

Let’s learn how the software development plan can provide benefits and bring positive results in developing an information system from scratch.

  1. It lets software engineers design and produce top-notch digital products because of the well-organized and methodical process they follow.
  2. Software project life cycle models assure the digital system complies with all the terms and demands.
  3. It helps to decrease undesirable expenses throughout the whole development period because team members can evaluate the costs in advance and predict high-priced blunders.
  4. It ensures accurate and timely delivery to the consumer.

Put concisely, due to the software development cycle, all team members have a clear plan for accomplishing specific goals. This is achievable because of splitting the workflow into several steps. The final step in the software development life cycle involves handling issues reported by end-users, and frequent updates. But let’s analyze each of them below!

7 Stages of Software Development Life Cycle that DashDevs Implements

Software development life cycle phases are vital for any digital project if quality is your priority. For one, due to establishing the development process well, DashDevs managed to create a digital financial institution for the western market in only 9 months! A typical IT software development life cycle for web development application brings you a truly impressive result. Want to know more about the SDLC steps our team actively takes advantage of? Here they are:

1. Planning phase

The first step in software development life cycle is planning. This phase is sometimes combined with the second step or even fully omitted. But DashDevs strongly recommended going over general steps thoroughly. What does planning imply? Evaluating the terms of the project by project leaders. This involves estimating labour and material expenses, setting a timesheet with tasks to be done, and forming the project’s teams and administration structure.

2. Requirement gathering

This is often considered as one of the most significant software development phases within the Agile methodology as the ultimate result will fully depend on how well the team understands the client’s requirements and expectations. Thus, during this step, all necessary data and project details should be received and all the uncertainties must be settled. The stage also includes establishing a budget, resources, deadlines, and potential risks which also describe waterfall model and not only the Agile one.

It’s also advised to outline all discussed demands in a document called Software Requirement Specification (SRS), which will be a great reference for any team member in case they have difficulties during the development.

3. Designing the product architecture

After all the demands are clearly specified in SRS, product architects work on a few possible designs which design phase includes, and document them in Design Document Specification (DDS). This DDS is analyzed by the clients in accordance with a number of characteristics like a target audience, central needs, non-functional features, etc. After that, the most appropriate option is approved. This certainty is one of the benefits of using software development life cycle.

During the phase, two types of designs are developed. The first one (HLD or High-Level Design) is the system’s overall plan, while the second (LLD or Low-Level Design) is the design of its elements. When they’re done, the team concludes whether the submitted design corresponds to the original set of business and customers’ goals. It ensures that the best security software development life cycle methodology is adopted.

4. Software development

The few next steps you may also call the implementation phase. Creating the actual digital product is the most labour-intensive and time-taking phase of the development software life cycle. However, if the DDS is carried out in a comprehensive and well-structured way, the code writing is done without much trouble. It again demonstrates the interdependence of each stage and the importance of the well-coordinated performance of the entire team.

The tasks and responsibilities are shared among the team according to their skills and experience even when you use different types of software development life cycle models. For example, Front-End Engineers are in charge of creating the interface. Database administrators ensure databases run efficiently. Software Engineers use coding instructions and a number of other tools to write the code. The result of this stage is a well-functioning digital system and Source Code Documentation.

5. Testing

The fifth stage is performed by Quality Assurance specialists. It is among the main phases because it helps to make certain the software is compliant with all the previously stated requirements and is completely free of bugs. Testing also implies verification and validation as they aid to secure the program’s successful completion.

QA engineers perform various kinds of tests like functional, performance, unit, security, and usability testing. If any bugs are detected, the team of developers fixes them, and then QA specialists have to test the software and its elements again. In the end, the final product has to tie in with all the quality criteria that were earlier outlined in the SRS document.

6. Deployment

After the software is thoroughly tested and no errors are found, the stage of deployment begins. It’s aimed to put the product into production so that it can reach the end-user successfully. This is so far the most expensive phase.

In case errors are encountered and bugs come up, the support experts gather feedback and address it to Software Developers. After everything is fixed, a new and improved version is released.

7. Maintenance phase

This phase is often drawn off the list. Let’s just admit it — the initial plan rarely appears to be flawless when it meets the real world. Besides, circumstances and, consequently, requirements change all the time. That’s why there’s the seventh stage which includes maintenance, handling issues reported by end-users, and frequent updates.

By the way, end-use customers can assist in improving the product and boosting performance, so getting constant feedback is a must if you aspire to hone your application to perfection. Monitoring the performance of the software is also covered by the team during the maintenance period.

5 Basic Software Development Life Cycle Methodologies

Software development methodologies are various strategies and procedures that software development companies apply to successfully navigate SDLC. The 5 most common ones are below, so let’s learn which one can suit your project the most.

1. Agile

Agile is one of the most big-name and widely-used methods in the software development business that appeared back in 2001. This model favours quick and continuous release cycles, practising small-scale but gradual updates. In comparison with other models, such an approach brings much more testing and iterations. However, it helps react to novelties in the market and feedback from clients much faster, in such a way increasing end-user satisfaction with a product.

Many say that Agile is all about people. As it’s stated in the Agile Manifesto — cooperation and intercommunication are much more valuable than rigid contract arrangements. That’s why changes are always welcomed, even when all basic requirements are already collected. This is simply because the Agile team’s main purpose is to always deliver the best possible solution to the client.

2. DevOps

DevOps methodology has come to fill in the gaps that Agile has. In particular, the operations aspects. Hence, the idea of DevOps is to create one team that can improve communication between the development and operations throughout all steps of SDLC.

What’s beneficial about this model? Most importantly, it strives to speed up the process of developing the product and to decrease the time the teams usually need for that even at its most difficult state. It also minimises the lead time between fixes, reduces the failure frequency of new releases, and helps to achieve the market and the end-user faster. To manage all that, active engagement of the whole team is required, which many perceive as the main disadvantage of the DevOps model.

3. Waterfall

Some specialists claim Waterfall was never designed to be a project management methodology for software products, while others believe it to be a tried-and-true way that works well in certain conditions. Who’s right? Well, according to the statistics the model isn’t that popular any more as only 10% of developers use it nowadays.

What are its advantages? Waterfall is clear-cut and straightforward: you finish one stage and only then proceed with the next one. In a word, the method is extremely simple and, consequently — easy to learn and operate. But what seems like a great benefit ultimately results in a huge disadvantage — rigidity. You can’t change or fix anything until you reach the maintenance step. So, if the project is long-term and requires flexibility — Waterfall is no go.

4. Iterative

Iterative model is based on continuous testing. According to it, new features are developed at the end of every stage. Thus, they have to be retested again and again until no bugs are detected. Such an approach is beneficial because it enables the team to step-by-step improve the software and release the final product faster. This is a principal advantage of this methodology over its alternatives — a business need is satisfied much quicker.

However, the model has a number of drawbacks and you shall compare advantages and disadvantages of different software life cycle models. First, due to a rigorous set of oparations, it requires lots of documentation work. Second, there’s a risk of using much more resources than were planned. This, therefore, brings more expenses. Third, the approach can mainly be used for large and long-run projects.

5. Spiral

Spiral is considered one of the most flexible models in SDLC. Similar to Iterative, Spiral uses repetition as a basis in software development. According to it, a project has to go through four stages over and over again (planning, design, construct, and evaluation).

Spiral is beneficial for big projects as it helps to create a highly customized product. Moreover, it gives more accurate numbers in terms of workloads, resources, and timetables as it identifies difficulties and problems early on. What about drawbacks? The final desired solution might be quite costly because its processes require lots of time and a team of highly-skilled experts.

Which is The Best Software Development Life Cycle Model for Your Project

If producing first-class software is your aim and growth and development are your priorities, then you’ll certainly benefit from putting SDLC into practice when working on projects. It makes the process of providing digital solutions transparent and apprehensible because everyone can see and understand how to move towards the goal.

The choice of methodology will depend on the project and the team composition. The majority of companies are inclined towards Agile and DevOps today. However, each of the methodologies has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re looking for experts in the area of full-cycle app development or just seek professional advice, you’re welcome to contact DashDevs software development company.

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