You have some know-how of what a cycle. In a nonprofessional’s language, we can consider a cycle as a set of repetitive processes. However, from a technical viewpoint, we can transform software development into a set of processes and therefore term everything as a software development life cycle. Software Development Life Cycle, which is SDLC, technically means steps crucial in developing software applications. Each stage has a role to play and breaks down the entire development process into manageable tasks. The tasks are measures, assigned, and completed concerning a set of development requirements.
Understanding the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
SDLC is a set of standard business practices employed in software application development. The process scales down to around six to eight steps, and they randomly include requirements, planning, designing, documentation, building, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Nevertheless, the stages often rely on the project managers working on the software project. Some may omit some steps, while others may follow up the entire process to the latter. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that these steps serve as the essential components for developing any software product.
At some point, you may question why not prepare an application or software product without following these sets of processes. It is crucial to consider the software development life cycle because it serves as a measure of the software development process. With adherence to the set of operations, the final product is improved and reliable. SDLC is also good enough to ensure efficiency at each stage of development. With the higher demand for software, SDLC eases some of the burdens of software development, such as cost reduction, faster results, and achieving each of the customer’s needs.
The working of the Software Development Life Cycle
With the software development life cycle, software developers outline each task that conjunctively results in the development of a software application—following such an approach reduces wastage and enhances efficiency in the entire process of software development. As the project progresses, it is essential to consider monitoring where both the client and the development team monitor it to ensure it is on the right path.
Each step of software development may undergo a further breakdown into smaller manageable units. For instance, we can break the process into around three manageable subunits in the planning stage, including marketing research, cost-effective analysis, and technology research. While some steps divide further, some may conjointly work together to make the software development process a success. For instance, the development phase can run hand in hand with the testing phase, where software developers run testing concurrently with development to eliminate errors right at the development stage. That aside, the following seven steps are crucial and make up the software development life cycle:
It is a crucial phase where project managers and other critical team members assemble to evaluate and understand the project terms. The entire stage calls for a critical examination of material costs, estimating the labor costs, leadership structure, creating a plan with manageable goals, among many others. Stakeholders also come in at this stage, and they stand as the benefit from the application. It is also essential to source feedback from potential customers, other related experts, and developers. While planning for software development, it is crucial to understand the project scope and the underlying reason for developing the given software. The stage defines a boundary for the project – the project cannot stretch beyond its specified limits unless otherwise.
It is significant to establish the project requirements before quickly going to the developmental stage. You will not develop a given software without understanding its requirements. At the requirement definition stage, you need to establish what the software or application intends to do and, after that, try to verify its possible conditions. For instance, if you want to develop a social media application, some requirement factors are crucial. Through the application, users must reach out to others without strain. Therefore, you should consider features or requirements that enable users to connect easily. The stage also entails defining resources crucial for the project.
Design and Prototyping
After defining the requirements, you have to design the application or prepare a prototype to understand more of the project’s needs. At this phase, the programmers and software developers create a postulated software or program’s working model. The following aspects are crucial during this stage: architecture, which specifies essential features such as a functional programming language, user interface, which defines customer interaction with the software, development platforms, communication, security, programming, and much more.
Prototyping may also feature in the design stage. It constitutes creating a prototype (a toy of the existing software) in the iterative software development model. With a porotype, users understand the basic idea behind the intended application and provide feedback regarding what needs improvement and what needs optimization. Using the prototyping approach tends to lower costs related to software development. It is easier to change a prototype to fit user needs than rewriting code to incorporate a change in this phase.
Check: best prototyping tools
After creating and understanding the program’s design or postulated software, it is now essential to consider writing the actual program. Single or few developers may work on a simple project, while a complex project calls for many developers and breaking down the task into manageable bits. Access control tools are crucial in this phase because they help software developers to monitor and track changes made in the source code. Such essentials are also vital for ensuring compatibility between projects to meet specific target goals. The phase incorporates coding, which entails error and glitch fixation. Documentation is also crucial, and software developers appreciate the use of instructions and comments on how the software works, its limitations, etc. However, documentation can be formal or informal and therefore depends on the type of development team.
It is also a crucial phase to establish whether or not the software runs as required. Usually, most testing undergoes automation. Testing is also critical to show whether the software works correctly in different environments. Some software testing takes place in specific settings, and therefore, developers should consider stimulated production environments to serve the purposes of complex deployments. At the testing phase, software programmers and developers should ensure that each software unit works properly. Several parts of the program also undergo testing to establish the level to which they can work together to reduce hangs and ensure effective processes. Performance testing reduces glitches and bugs residing within the program or software.
At this stage, the software development team renders the software usable and presents it to the intended users. There are many ways to institute deployment and among them is the automation of the entire process. It is a crucial approach because of the simplification of otherwise complex tasks.
Operations and Maintenance
Once the software is already in use, programmers need to ensure its consistency in serving the user needs. Therefore, the software calls for maintenance. In the usage process, customers may discover bugs that may have possibly bypassed the process of testing and bug fixation. The development team should ensure consistent upgrades and continued maintenance.
The Software Development Life Cycle defines processes that ensure a program or software undergoes a wide range of measures until it is fit for use. It consists of a good number of other features such as software models, methodologies among others. It is crucial to highlight a set of these processes to ensure efficiency in the entire process of software development. With SDLC, anyone can understand what is happening, the whole development process, and through the same approach, software developers enjoy a straightforward process of developing software. The cycle ensures scalability, maintainability, effectiveness and manages costs of production of different software.
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