October 26, 2020

What Is the Software Development Life Cycle

What is the software development life cycle

Have you ever thought about how software is born? Every great achievement begins with the first step. In this article, we’re going to tell you about what is the software development life cycle, who is involved in implementing suitable business solutions, and why team collaboration is so important at every stage of development.

The software development life cycle is a process of software production from an idea to ready-to-use solution supporting. Developers often use the abbreviation SDLC for this term.

View the scheme of the Software Development Life Cycle below. 

Let’s look at every stage of SDLC in detail. 

Finding an idea

gathering ideas

Everything begins with an idea.

For example, in your company couriers don’t deliver orders for an appointment time. The first problem comes up. It’s about the quality of Customer Service. The second problem lies deeper. It’s about the reasons why the employees are late. The company’s management decides to develop an app to control couriers’ activity.

It should be noted that businesses develop software to solve their issues. But sometimes the problem is not on the surface and it’s difficult to find the right solution. That’s why CoreTeka dives deep into customers’ needs, analyzes business processes before starting software development. 

But how to deliver your requirements to a software development company? Together with your IT-partner, you should create the Marketing Requirements Document (MDL). It includes all your willingness for future products. The development team analyzes the document and creates specifications (Product Requirements Documents or PRD). 

The first stage is completed.  

Requirements identifying and designing

Now we come from the description to starting the way to achieve the goal. Business analysts help companies to transform their desires into requirements, understandable by designers, programmers, QA managers, etc. As a result, we have several Product Requirements Documents called in IT-community “specs” (specifications). Every PRD must include a unique name, identification number, and priority placemarks.

How to understand your specifications are well: 

  1. In the document, all the details are described. 
  2. There is no chance to interpret things in PRDs controversial. 
  3. One PRD does not contravene another. 
  4. There are logical relations among the concepts of PRDs.

We see software development life cycle importance on this stage. Without specifications, the development team can interpret requirements incorrectly. Moreover, now we know what technologies, timeframes, budgets, restrictions will be used on the project. 

Now the time comes to see the future design. This is a task for UI/UX designers. We’ve told what’s UI/UX design in the article

Mock-ups and flow charts are used to visualize software working principles, visual style. As a rule, design requirements can be founded in a separate document —  Design Specifications (DSD).

To make a great product the crew should ask the question: “What do you do in software development?”

Programming

coding software

Programmers play the main role at this stage. These folks “interpret” specifications into machine code. Every teammate is responsible for different parts of the software. For example, front-end developers work on what a user can see and interact with, and back-end developers make inner shells of software. 
The programming stage consists of 4 phases: 

  1. Algorithms development. In this phase, developers set the logic of software.
  2. Source code writing. Developers use human-readable programming languages, such as JavaScript, PHP, Python, etc. 
  3. Compilation. Programmers “translate” the source code into machine code.
  4. Unit testing. Developers often write tests for every software module to minimize the number of bugs on the Quality Assurance stage. 

The next stage is work done by quality assurance managers. 

Quality assurance and debugging

quality assurance software

Quality assurance managers are responsible for seeking bugs in software. 

After unit testing, QA managers verify functionality (smoke test). If there are any bugs, developers “repair” the software. The smoke testing process continues until all the problems in the functionality will be removed. 

Developers enhance the software in every version. So new features, functionalities, and bugs arise. To find bugs in new builds QA managers use new features testing. After checking additional functionalities the time comes to regression testing. On the phase, QA managers ensure software components, worked before, have no bugs and problems. 

QA managers understand what is a bug thanks to Product Requirements Documents. That’s why it is so important in software development. 

Implementing and supporting

The time comes to hand software over for use by the client. But the work of your IT-partner never ends. The technical support staff is always ready to answer questions, consult, and give customers feedback. 

When users find bugs in post-release, the tech support forms reports and passes them to the development team. Then, programmers do hot-fixes in the next version of the software. 

We talked about the work of business analysts, designers, developers, QA managers, but who is in charge of software application development teams? A lot of people are responsible for the result. Project managers communicate with clients and inform others about the client’s willingness. CTO allocates resources. Teamwork is so important in the Software development life cycle. 

Software Development Methodologies

agile methodology

Every stage of software development can be implemented in different ways. For example, step by step, alongside, etc.

We describe the most popular of them. 

Waterfall Model 

The oldest model of software development. Here every stage continues previous. 

Today IT-companies use the Waterfall model while working on the projects with direct requirements. There is no chance to go back, as, for example, the stage of testing begins only after fully completed programming. 

V-Model

It’s a variation of the Waterfall model. The main difference is quality control on every stage before starting the new one. 

The V-model is the best choice for applied software. For example, in healthcare, where it’s so important to ensure smooth functioning. 

Spiral Model

By developing with the Spiral model the team should concentrate on risk management. In the model, every stage of the software development life cycle is divided into 4 phases: planning, risk analyses, prototyping, and assessment of the result. In case there are no problems in each of the 4 phases, the cycle is repeated in other stages. 

Iterative Model 

Unlike others, the Iterative model does not require all specifications before starting the development process. The requirements can be changed at every stage. The picture is created piece by piece, like a puzzle. 

The picture below greatly describes the difference between the Iterative model and others. 

Agile Model 

What is the Agile software development life cycle? It’s the common question on the Web, as it’s the most popular methodology nowadays. Agile is a so-called flexible approach. 

In this methodology, the client assesses the results of work after every stage. 

The main principles of Agile methodology are: 

  • The highest priority is clients’ needs. 
  • Changes lead to success (even at the last stages of development). 
  • Software that works should be released as often as possible.
  • The development team and the customer should work together every day. 
  • Communication is the best tool to bring information. 
  • Software that works is an indicator of progress.
  • Teamwork is the best way to do a product.

In the Agile model, developers and clients hold short meetings every day (the tool called Scrum) and regular meetings (1 per week or month). It’s Sprints. 

The most common development management tools include Agile. For example, Scrum is a framework of this methodology.

What kind of software development projects can be executed by the Scrum project management framework

The Scrum framework and Agile methodology can be used in every project. It’s the best solution in the ever-changing world. The Scrum and Agile give freedom for the creative teams and satisfaction for the customers. 

Interested in the full cycle of custom software development? Contact us.