In the below blog post, we cover the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Although SDLC is not our preferred framework, it is one that we are quite familiar with and have inherited several projects using this methodology. In many instances, SDLC is a fine starting point but lacks some of the core benefits of modern Agile Software Development. To learn more about our preferred approach, check out our blog series found here
As the volume of enterprise data and the automation of business workflows continue to increase at a rapid pace, software development will only continue to grow. Businesses and developers must find efficient ways to minimize errors and leverage custom software solutions. The answer? Using the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

We’re going to walk you through each phase of the software development life cycle process, which entails a total of seven stages:

  1. Requirements & Analysis
  2. Project Planning
  3. Design
  4. Coding & Implementation
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment
  7. Maintenance

By understanding each stage, you can identify efficient ways to better manage your software projects, improve the development process, save on costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. 

What Is SDLC?  

SDLC is a standardized process IT, systems, and software engineering industries use to build and test software products. It entails a step-by-step development process with the goal of creating high-quality software that meets or exceeds customer expectations. 

Why Is SDLC Important? 

As we’ve noted above, the SDLC framework includes seven defining tasks. The seven stages give developers the opportunity to produce notable and customized software products, helping their organizations sharpen their competitive edge. 

Here are a few benefits SDLC can bring: 

  • Offers better visibility of a project plan 
  • Mitigates project risks and errors
  • Allows team members to track the progress of their project
  • Ensures all requirements and objectives are achieved 

Stage 1: Requirements & Analysis

This is the first and fundamental stage of SDLC. Business analysts gather requirements from their customers, target market, and industry experts to create a Business Specification (BS) document. Other organizations and teams may refer to this document as Customer Requirement Specification (CRS). 

The intent of this document is to outline current pain points that developers should strive to eliminate through the power of software. It can be a useful resource to help the team discover innovative methods to change and improve their products. 

The document is shared with the development team, which then uses it in the next stage. 

Stage 2: Project Planning

Based on the BS, senior development team members bring together the input of stakeholders and experts to plan out a software development project. The project may be focused on building a new software product or improving a current one. 

During this initial development phase, team members work together to discuss and plan out: 

  • Intentions behind the project
  • Requirements of the project 
  • Anticipated issues
  • Opportunities 
  • Risks

All of these elements are recorded in a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document. By outlining the points above, team members can ensure they are injecting their software projects with the right focus. 

Stage 3: Design

This stage focuses on designing the product. It involves product architects and developers who will ideate and present a design of the product. They may present more than one design approach, and these ideas are documented in a Design Document Specification (DDS). 

The DDS will be a pivotal part of the production process (Stage 4), as developers will lean on it as their primary resource to build their code. Developers must also refer back to the SRS document (from Stage 2) to ensure the product’s design safeguards the team from the anticipated issues and risks noted earlier.

Stage 4: Coding & Implementation

In Stage 4, production commences and the product is built. The programming code is built per the DDS (Stage 3), so the product can be created with the utmost efficiency. Developers use various tools and programming languages to build the code. These are selected based on the demands of the software being developed.

Some of the programming tools may involve: 

  • Compilers 
  • Interpreters
  • Debuggers

The programming languages may entail: 

  • C
  • C++
  • Pascal
  • Java 
  • PHP

Stage 5: Testing

Stage 5 is where the development team tests the software for errors and deficiencies. Does the software produce the right results? Does it fulfill the requirements and objectives initially outlined in the SDLC? These are examples of key questions that could be asked during the testing phase. 

Some teams may test the software manually or use automated testing tools. Whichever route they decide to pursue, the testing process should ensure each unit of the software works well. After undergoing testing, the software should enter a QA process to validate the product’s quality.

Stage 6: Deployment

Once the software has undergone testing and QA, it is delivered to the customer. This stage usually involves deployment engineers who make software available to customers. They may install the software at a company and/or help individual customers run the application on their computers. 

Stage 7: Maintenance

Because a software product’s usage varies from customer to customer (each person has different needs), there may be unique issues that come up and need to be addressed. These customer issues are solved in this maintenance stage. 

To help mitigate the amount of maintenance that needs to be done, teams may choose to first release the product to a smaller population of customers. This can offer insight into how the product is performing and the development teams can make any last adjustments prior to its final release. 

Learn More from Emergent Software

If you’re interested in learning more about the software development life cycle (SDLC) process or how you can better prepare for the launch of your software project, check out Emergent Software’s blog for more helpful resources. As a business that specializes in custom software development, we are a trusted source to help you elevate your technical and software expertise and needs.