Software development has become paramount in the world today. In software development, there’s a thing called the software development lifecycle. What is it? The SDLC is the structured process that enables the production of low-cost, high-quality software in the shortest time possible.
Let’s find out more.
How SDLC was Created
Computer Science rapidly progressed during the 50s and 60s. The swift evolution sparked the beginnings of a production framework that later on grew into the software development lifecycle we know today. Before the 50s, computing wasn’t elaborate enough to necessitate an approach that’s as detailed as the SDLC.
In software development and programming, as the scale and complexity grew, programming that’s structured has emerged. Through the years, it demanded more tactical development models by the software outsourcing companies, sparking the beginnings of the life cycle.
Importance of the SDLC
The changing requirements, cross-functional collaboration, and technology upgrades have made software development challenging to manage. Nonetheless, the software development lifecycle provides a systematic management framework with particular deliverables at each step of the process. Thus, all stakeholders agree on development requirements and goals upfront and have the plan to achieve them as well.
Software Development Lifecycle Phases
The SDLC works by lowering the development cost while boosting quality and shortening production time simultaneously. Furthermore, the process achieves these seemingly different goals by adhering to a plan that eradicates the typical software development pitfalls. SDLC outlines several tasks needed to build a software app.
The process of development undergoes several stages as new features are added as well as bugs are fixed in the software. While the details differ from one development team to another, there are several common SDLC phases to follow.
1. Gathering of Requirements and Analysis
In this phase, all relevant information is gathered from the customer to build a product as per the expectations. Furthermore, during this phase, ambiguities, if they exist, should be resolved. All information is gathered, such as the kind of app to be built, the end-users, and the purpose of the product.
There should be a core knowledge or understanding of the product before proceeding. Moreover, requirements should be clear. After requirements are gathered, an analysis is performed to check the feasibility of the product. When the requirement is understood clearly, the software requirement specification document is then made.
In the design phase, software engineers analyze the requirements and identify the best solutions to build software. For instance, engineers or developers may take into consideration integrating pre-existing modules, identify the software development tools to be used, and choose the technology or technologies to be used. They would look at how best to integrate the new software into any existing IT infrastructure that the company may have.
The following are two kinds of design documents developed during this phase:
- Outline each module’s functionality
- Brief name and description of every module
- Interface dependencies and the relationship between modules
- Complete architecture diagrams together with technology details
- Database tables together with their key elements
- Database tables, including size and type
- Complete interface detail
- Functional modules’ logic
- Listing of error messages
- Addresses of all kinds of dependency problems
- Complete input and output for each module
3. Coding or Implementation
The design of the software is translated into source code. During this phase, all software components are implemented. Furthermore, in this phase, the development team codes the product and analyzes the requirements to determine smaller coding tasks that they could do daily to achieve the result.
Developers start building the entire system by writing code with the programming language of choice. Furthermore, tasks are divided into modules or units and assigned to different developers. In the SDLC, the coding or implementation phase is the longest.
Once coding is done, testing begins and the modules are released. During this phase, the software built is thoroughly tested and any defects discovered are assigned to developers who would then fix them. Regression testing, and retesting, is done to the point at which the software is as per the expectation of the customer.
The team combines manual and automation testing to check for bugs. The Quality Analysis includes testing for errors and making sure that it meets the customer’s requirements. Since many development teams test the code they write immediately, this phase usually runs parallel to the development phase.
When teams create software, they code and test on a different software copy than the one that users will have access to. The software that will be used by customers is called production, while other copies are considered to be in the build environment, or the testing environment.
Separate production and build environments ensure that customers could use the software continuously even while it’s being upgraded or changed. There are several tasks included in the deployment phase to move the latest copy to the production environment. These include packaging, configuration, and installation.
After the product has been deployed in the production environment, maintenance follows. In the maintenance phase, the team resolves customer problems, fixes bugs, and manages any change that would be made.
Additionally, the development team monitors the overall performance of the system, the security, and the user experience. All these help to determine new ways to improve the existing software.
Any software development team, in both IT and other industries, ultimately, could benefit from implementing the software development lifecycle into whatever projects they have in mind. Adherence to the SDLC is extremely important for the success of any project. The software development lifecycle, when done right, allows the highest management control and documentation level.