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7 Fundamental Stages of Software Development Life Cycle
Any modern business can’t sustain or scale up in the digital world without the aid of software development. Consequently, companies that offer these services are in high demand and competition is expected to get fierce in the coming decade. Hence, software development firms need to rapidly develop high-quality software with available resources that hold their own against the big tech firms. To do this effectively and efficiently, they employ a strategy known as Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC.
Basics of SDLC and its 7 fundamental steps
What is SDLC?
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a series of phases that ensures that all aspects of software development are covered and accounted for. It does this by breaking down the tedious development process into 7 steps or phases, making it a vital part of software engineering and management.
SDLC can also be defined as a complete framework that takes all aspects of the development process into account, such as planning, resources, client requirements, hardware constraints and more. Running a project through an SDLC model eventually makes it manageable to achieve the end product within a defined time frame without any bugs or other logistical issues.
With the basics out of the way, let’s dive into the 7 stages of a Software Development Life Cycle.
Planning And Data Collection
Before the software development project can take off, it’s vital to visualize and plan the end goal for the operation. At this stage, developers will first look at existing problems that need to be solved with the new product and check whether any current software systems can do it effectively. If not, then these problems would define the features of the new software that will be designed. By gathering all this important information, a company can glean an understanding of the project’s timeline. Consequently, they can start figuring out the practical aspects such as the utilization of resources and funding. Ultimately, this is the precursor to all other stages and must not be rushed.
Client Requirements And Analysis
Now that the basics are determined in the planning stage, it’s time to consider the specifics. This includes gathering extensive information from the client regarding the project as well as fleshing out specific key features of the new software. Once the data is in, the developers will then try to accommodate all the specifics into the software system and check whether it would still be feasible. It’s not uncommon to come up with new prototypes to ensure all the specific requirements can be met. Essentially, this stage focuses on the all minutia of basic processes that were laid out during step one. Once the details are finalized, a software requirement specification or SRS document is prepared.
In the design stage, project aspects such as user interface, system interface, network requirements and databases are scrutinized. The details gathered in the SRS document are also converted into a logical action plan so that it can be implemented in a programming language during the next phase. Moreover, the actual execution, testing, and maintenance that form the next steps of the program are also laid out in detail so that programmers are aware of the requirements in each cycle.
This is where the actual creation process takes shape. Once a proper design and SRS document are finalized, programmers then convert these plans into code and depending on the scope and nature of the task, the coding process can be compartmentalized among many people. Furthermore, the programmers will need some coding guidelines and the assistance of debuggers and compilers to accomplish their tasks. Needless to say, this is generally the longest part of the software development process.
Once the codes have been compiled and the rudimentary software is ready, it then undergoes a rigorous testing process. Specialized testing teams go through the software to make sure that it is compliant with the initial client requirements. During this phase, bugs, errors, or other useful feedback might surface regarding the software. The programmers then work on this feedback and this process is repeated ad infinitum till all bugs and errors are fixed.
Integration And Deployment
Depending on the complexity of the software this step may or may not involve integration. In case it is a data-heavy software with multiple facets, then different modules of the software that were developed and tested will be integrated into the primary source code to create the final product. At this stage, the software is finally ready to be rolled out into the market and can be used by the consumer. Operational guidelines are also drafted for user/users so that they can easily access and navigate the software.
Even though the product has been officially launched, the SDLC process can be practically endless due to the maintenance stage. It’s not uncommon for the customer to run into some problems while operating the software and thus, it will require maintenance and optimization from time to time. The importance of updating the software with time can’t be overstated, for only then will the product continue to function smoothly and provide the desired end result.
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